Wheaton College Norton, Massachusetts
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Professor's film nabs top festival honors

The latest feature film by Wheaton professor Jake Mahaffy won the award for best “feature film” at the South By Southwest Film Festival held recently in Austin.

The latest feature film by Associate Professor of Art and Film Jake Mahaffy won the Grand Jury Award for best "feature film" at the South By Southwest Film Festival held recently in Austin.

The movie, Wellness, follows the travails of a hapless pyramid-scheme salesman striving to succeed in a business that doesn't exist.

In its review of the film, Variety said: "Virtual one-man band Jake Mahaffy follows up his 2004 film War with an astute effort that is both razor-sharp and genuinely sensitive, with a flawlessly authentic, heartbreaking performance by central [actor] Jeff Clark."

Professor Mahaffy has said the idea for the film began with a story he heard about a real salesman. "And the salesman motif is a great structure for film because it forces your main man into various episodic confrontations with different people," he added.

The South by Southwest film festival is the biggest event for low-budget indie films in the U.S. Mahaffy also screened Wellness at the International Rotterdam Film Festival and will screen it at other upcoming festivals.

Mahaffy came to Wheaton in 2006 to start the college's film program. He received his MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and his BFA from Rhode Island School of Design. He has made many short films and the feature-length film, War. He's currently writing a screenplay about a man who tries to perform a miracle and fails, as well as working on a series of experimental short films. Some of his work can be seen at www.handcrankedfilm.com. News about the college's film program and the work of Wheaton students www.myspace.com/wheatonfilm.