CinefestOZ confirms 2020 festival will go ahead

Pierra WillixThe West Australian
VideoAll the arrivals as CinefestOZ awarded it's grand prize to cap off the SW-based festival.

It’s lights, camera, action for the CinefestOZ film festival, which will go ahead later this year.

The South West event is set to be the first Australian film festival to host screenings for live cinema audiences since the easing of restrictions following the COVID-19 pandemic.

CinefestOZ chair Helen Shervington said the lifting of restrictions in WA meant what was initially planned as an online festival could now allow for physical attendance within health guidelines.

“If you’re looking for film, food and fun … CinefestOZ is the place to be,” she said..

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“However, we recognise these are challenging times for us all, particularly our interstate friends and industry family who may be bound by the State border closure, so we will be presenting a program for those who can – and can’t – physically attend.

The festival will use streaming technology to deliver film events to even greater audiences, and we urge those who can’t join us this year to stay connected until we can be together again in person next year.”

Established in 2008, CinefestOZ has grown to become one of the country’s leading festivals, where new films are screened as they compete for the richest film prize in Australia- the $100,000 CinefestOZ Film Prize.

The inaugural prize went to Paper Planes and other winners include Putuparri and the Rainmakers, Girl Asleep, Ali’s Wedding and Jirga.

The festival also hands out the Screen Legend award, which has been presented in previous years to David Wenham, Bryan Brown and Gillian Armstrong.

It also runs the Cinesnaps schools program as well as IndigifestOZ to draw focus to the best Indigenous feature films, documentaries and short films.

For the first time in the festival’s 13-year history, CinefestOZ will also include a short film competition, with four cash prizes up for grabs for Best Short Film, Best Indigenous Short Film, Best WA Short Film and Best WA Female Short Filmmakers.

The full program will be announced on July 31 ahead of the festival, which will run between August 25-30.

“It has been a really tough year for all Australians, especially those in the arts and entertainment industry,” Shervington says.

“We urge everyone to show their support to great Australian filmmakers and either jump online or take the trip south and come join us in person. After all, nothing beats seeing a film than collectively in a cinema.”

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