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UFV Alumni Take Top Student Prize at Whistler Film Fest

Whistler — Abbotsford-Mission residents and recent UFV alumni Mitch Huttema and Martin Castro’s short film ‘New Washing Machine’ is the 2019 recipient of the Whistler Film Festival’s BC Student ShortWork Award.

The 2019 graduates of UFV’s BFA and English programs will receive a cash prize for the award, bestowed by the jury for their ‘clever and imaginative story with naturalistic performances and a surprising fresh ending.’ The project beat out work by students from VFS, UBC, SFU, Emily Carr and Capilano U – all have industry-respected film programs.

In a question and answer period after the block of screenings for their category Sunday afternoon in Whistler, Director Huttema and Writer Castro pointed out that their film was produced in an educational environment that did not feature a focused film curriculum. Huttema further states “I’d like to note in particular the support of Prof. Melanie Jones, Toni Latour and Grace Tsurmaru of the UFV School of Creative Arts, whose encouragement to pursue film as a medium within a fine arts program was instrumental in inspiring the work that led to this success.”

While not studying in film programs, the Abbotsford-Mission residents both had instrumental roles as editorial staff at the Cascade Student Newspaper, and volunteered at UFV’s campus radio station CIVL, where Huttema, currently sits as outgoing President.

Castro is currently enrolled in the PDP program at SFU, and continues to write and self-publish poetry and prose through various vendor markets and membership in the Abby Arts Council.

CIVL station manager Aaron Levy, who attended the screening block Sunday, was impressed by the recognition. “UFV’s student media societies are truly blessed with so many brilliant and dedicated students. That an independent panel of professional and successful creative minds singled out our students from a competitive field of cohorts guided by the infrastructure at their larger institutions is staggering.” 

The 5 minute film also screened in November at the Chilliwack Independent Film Festival, as well as the Abbotsford Film Festival in August where it won the Audience Choice Award. M.Hutt films inc, Huttema’s production company, plans to begin a festival run of their longer film Apocalypse – a project co-directed by UFV student and CIVL board member-elect Joel Robertson-Taylor, who was recognized himself as the Canadian University Press Student Journalist of the Year in 2017 as Editor-in-Chief of The Cascade.

See the trailer for the film here: mhuttfilms.com/newwashingmachine

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