CinefestOz online in COVID-19 era

Jackson Lavell-LeeAugusta Margaret River Times
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CinefestOz chair Helen Shervington announced this week the festival would be available online.
Camera IconCinefestOz chair Helen Shervington announced this week the festival would be available online. Credit: Daniel Wilkins/Daniel Wilkins

CinefestOz will be a virtual festival for 2020, with the event announcing all filmmakers who submit content need to acknowledge their films will be available online — securely — during the festival period of August 25-30.

For the first time in its 13-year history, CinefestOz will include a short film competition, with four cash prizes up for grabs.

The short film contest is part of a modified film festival program that will use streaming technology to deliver film events to larger audiences.

The prizes will be awarded at a special presentation evening, to be held on August 29 in the South West and live streamed throughout Australia.

The prizes being presented as part of the short film competition include: the CinefestOz short film prize — $5000’ the CinefestOz Indigenous best short film — $2500; and the CineWest best WA short film — $2500.

Women in Film and Television WA will also present a $1000 cash prize for the best WA female short filmmakers.

CinefestOz chair Helen Shervington said the inclusion of prizes for short films was a realisation of the Festival’s aim to further place a spotlight on WA and Australian filmmakers.

“We’ve tackled the challenges of a global pandemic head-on to present festival components online, while leaving the door open for physical attendance within health guidelines,” Shervington said.

“Turning the spotlight on short filmmakers and presenting a special night recognising their talents will be a highlight of this year’s festival.”

Screenwest chief executive Willie Rowe applauded the festival for its quick pivot during this challenging time. “It’s great to see CinefestOz take their festival online and continue to celebrate Western Australian filmmakers and Western Australian stories with this new initiative,” he said.

The audience choice, best director and best lead actor awards will also be presented at the 2020 festival.

The closing date for film submissions has been extended to 5pm on Friday, July 3 with all filmmakers encouraged to apply.

To qualify for consideration for the prizes and awards, short filmmakers must meet the submission guidelines, which can be found on the CinefestOZ website at cinefestoz.com/submit-film/short-films/.

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