Abbotsford-Mission pair take top student prize at Whistler Film Fest

Mitch Huttema and Martin Castro win with New Washing Machine

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

The 2019 graduates of University of the Fraser Valley’s bachelor of fine arts and English programs will receive a cash prize for the award.

The pair were awarded 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 Vancouver Film School, the University of BC, Simon Fraser University, Emily Carr University of Arts and Design, and Capilano U.

In a question-and-answer period on Dec. 8 in Whistler after the block of screenings for their category, director Huttema and writer Castro pointed out that their film was produced in an educational environment that did not feature a focused film curriculum.

new washing machine – trailer from M.Hutt Films on Vimeo.

While not studying in film programs, the two 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 professional development program at SFU, and continues to write and self-publish poetry and prose through various vendor markets and membership in the Abbotsford Arts Council.

CIVL station manager Aaron Levy said he was impressed by the recognition.

“UFV’s student media societies are truly blessed with so many brilliant and dedicated students,” he said.

“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 five-minute film was 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. The project was co-directed by Joel Robertson-Taylor, a UFV student and CIVL board member-elect who was recognized as the Canadian University Press Student Journalist of the Year in 2017 as editor-in-chief of The Cascade.

RELATED: Abbotsford Film Festival highlights nine short films

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