Student’s film earns festival award

Wed, 2012-07-25 09:05 -- univcomm
An Anderson University student who chronicled his struggle with leukemia in a feature-length documentary has earned the President’s Choice Award in the Heartland Film Festival. The feature-length documentary entitled, Uncertain Tomorrow, focuses on four weeks that Tyler Stutzman, a senior from Ridgeville Corners, Ohio, spent in the hospital to undergo a bone-marrow transplant, and the following year. The movie involves Stutzman's entire family, including sister Vanessa, also an AU student, as his stem-cell donor. Tyler’s older brother Preston, a 1992 graduate of Anderson University, worked on the project as producer and editor.

Stutzman’s desire for creating Uncertain Tomorrow was to provide other leukemia patients and their families with information so they could know what they might face, and to wipe out fears and help them plan for recovery. He also wanted to encourage people with all kinds of cancers. And he wanted to remind people who are healthy to take advantage of every moment. In March of 1999, as a 19-year-old Anderson University sophomore, Tyler Stutzman was diagnosed with Leukemia and began a 6-week hospital stay. In July of 2000, Tyler underwent a stem cell transplant procedure to help save his life. This procedure became the basis for the feature-length documentary, Uncertain Tomorrow.

Stutzman hopes to obtain distribution for this documentary on the Discovery Health Network or a similar outlet. In addition to the Heartland Film Festival honor, the movie has also won the Platinum Award in the film and video category at the Worldfest International Film Festival in Houston. Stutzman is a Spanish and German double major at Anderson University and recently spent time studying in Quito, Ecuador, as a part of a study exchange program. He has designed and created a complimentary website at where anyone can monitor his progress since the transplant and receive updated news on his condition.

Established in 1991, the Heartland Film Festival has developed many ways to pursue its mission: To recognize and honor filmmakers whose work explores the human journey by artistically expressing hope and respect for the positive values of life. Over the course of ten days each October, Heartland screens films from around the world, ranging from dramas to documentaries to animation, all of which take entertainment to a higher level. The rewards of this Festival are many. The audience of a Heartland film is lifted up and inspired. The recognition filmmakers receive at the Heartland Film Festival encourages them to continue to make films that move and inspire.

Heartland awards over $100,000 in prize cash each year to the Festival's top entries, including a $50,000 Grand Prize for best Dramatic Feature. The Jimmy Stewart Memorial Crystal Heart Award for the best student films and the Crystal Heart Award winner shares the remaining award money. In its first 10 years, Heartland awarded over $1,000,000 to support filmmakers in their quest to create great cinema. Heartland also recognizes theatrically-released films that seek to enrich, inspire, and provide hope. Presented prior to a selected film's theatrical release, the Heartland Film Festival Truly Moving Pictures Award of Excellence recognizes these works as examples of what happens when Hollywood makes movies with substance

Anderson University is a private, four-year, Christian liberal arts institution of approximately 2,500 undergraduate and graduate students. Established in 1917 by the Church of God, the university offers more than 60 undergraduate majors and graduate programs of study in business, education and theology.