Film prize four announced

Busselton Dunsborough Times
Daniel Radcliffe stars in Jungle.
Camera IconDaniel Radcliffe stars in Jungle. Credit: Supplied: Hector Alvarez, Hector Alvarez

Organisers have announced the four finalists in the running for this year’s CinefestOZ film prize, with a former Busselton resident sharing the screen with Australian star Bryan Brown in one of the films vying for the $100,000 prize.

Ali’s Wedding, Australia Day, Jungle, and Three Summers have been selected as finalists, with the winner to be decided by the film prize jury chaired by Australian director, producer and screenwriter Scott Hicks.

Osamah Sami in Ali's Wedding.
Camera IconOsamah Sami in Ali's Wedding. Credit: Supplied

Former Busselton resident Sean Keenan joins Brown on screen in Australia Day, which examines contemporary issues of racial tension and national identity simmering beneath the surface of modern Australia, and is directed by Kriv Stenders of Red Dog fame.

In Ali’s Wedding, Iraqi- Australian actor and comedian Osamah Sami stars as himself alongside Offspring’s Don Hany in a film about family, duty and love in a multicultural Australia.

Sami wrote the screenplay for the film with Andrew Knight, whose own credentials include Hacksaw Ridge and The Water Diviner.

This year’s Melbourne International Film Festival contribution through MIFF@CinefestOZ is Jungle, which stars Harry Potter’s Daniel Radcliffe and takes audiences deep into the Bolivian jungle with a story based on Yossi Ghinsberg’s bestselling memoir.

Rounding out the finalists is a WA production that has Ben Elton making his return to CinefestOZ for the second year in a row with Three Summers.

Kelton Pell and Michael Caton in Three Summers.
Camera IconKelton Pell and Michael Caton in Three Summers. Credit: Supplied: David Dare Parker, David Dare Parker

Filmed just outside of Pinjarra, the romantic comedy has a strong line-up of Australian talent including Magda Szubanski, Michael Caton, and WA’s Kelton Pell.

CinefestOZ chairwoman Helen Shervington said the high calibre of finalists made the task of deciding a winner difficult for the film prize jury.

“We are delighted with the variety and number of entries in this year’s film prize and the finalists are representative of the strength and quality of the Australian film industry today,” she said.

“It is rewarding to see the Australian film industry recognising and embracing the platform CinefestOZ offers for showcasing their work and we are looking forward to connecting Australian films with Australian audiences at the festival.”

Bryan Brown in Australia Day.
Camera IconBryan Brown in Australia Day. Credit: Supplied: Vince Valitutti, Vince Valitutti

State Culture and Arts Minister David Templeman congratulated the finalists and said the benchmark was “set higher and higher each year”.

“I’m thrilled audiences from near and far will get to enjoy such quality work as well as participate in the numerous community and industry events in the CinefestOZ program,” he said.

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