CinefestOZ reveals $100,000 Film Prize finalists

CinefestOZ reveals $100,000 Film Prize finalists

CinefestOZ has revealed the five Australian films that will be in the running for the 2019 $100,000 Film Prize.

GO! MIFF@CinefestOZ film H is for Happiness, Hearts and Bones, Judy & Punch andMIFF@CinefestOZ drama Measure for Measure have all been selected to compete for Australia’s biggest film prize, which recognises the best Australian feature film or feature-length documentary.

CinefestOZ Festival Chair Helen Shervington said it had been another stellar year for Film Prize entries and this year’s finalists were the cream of the crop.

“Each year we continue to see a growth in the number and quality of submissions for the Film Prize, proving we have a wonderful pool of talented filmmakers here in Australia,” Shervington said.

“We are very much looking forward to showcasing these five films at the festival and seeing how they are received by our audiences.”

CinefestOZ is widely acknowledged as Australia’s premier destination festival and is firmly committed to bringing the Australian film industry together in a supportive environment within the spectacular South West region of Australia.

The CinefestOZ Film Prize was established in 2014 to recognise excellence in Australian filmmaking and is awarded on Gala Night by a five-member industry jury, this year chaired by director and writer Rachel Ward.

GO! is from director Owen Trevor (Top Gear) and writer Steve Worland (Paper Planes) and stars William Lodder, Anastasia Bampos, Darius Amarfio-Jefferson, Dan Wyllie, Cooper Van Grootel, Damian De Montemas with Richard Roxburgh and Frances O’Connor. The film is produced by Jamie Hilton and Sonia Borella.

When Jack (William Lodder) and his single mother (Frances O’Connor) move to a small town in Western Australia, he soon gets involved in the competitive world of go-kart racing. Jack’s got natural talent but must learn to control his recklessness. To do that, he’ll need the help of aspiring engineer, Mandy (Anastasia Bampos), wise-cracking best mate Colin (Darius Amarfio-Jefferson) and mysterious mentor, Patrick (Richard Roxburgh). Together, the team will endeavour to overcome all odds and defeat ruthless racer Dean (Cooper Van Grootel) to win the National Go Kart Championship. GO! is a high-octane Australian family film with heart.

Set in the Australian coastal town of Albany, MIFF@CinefestOZ film H is for Happiness is supported by the Melbourne International Film Festival (MIFF) Premiere Fund. It is a classic feel-good film based on the award-winning book My Life as an Alphabet by Barry Jonsberg, a heart-warming, unflinchingly honest story of one twelve- year-old’s determination to bring her family back from the brink and spark happiness in their lives. Using an entirely unique approach, Candice Phee is an unforgettable heroine whose exploits will inspire and delight anyone who has faced the trials of adolescence and the heartbreak of family tragedy.

Directed by MIFF Accelerator Lab alumnus John Sheedy and starring newcomers Daisy Axon and Wesley Patton, alongside Miriam Margolyes, Richard Roxburgh, Emma Booth, Joel Jackson, Deborah Mailman – and a miniature horse – H is For Happiness shows us a quintessentially Australian world through the eyes of a quirky outsider, and is a joyous celebration of all things a little bit different.

Hearts and Bones is internationally award-winning director and photographer Ben Lawrence’s beautifully acted debut feature about hope and the mysterious bonds of family, friendship and fatherhood.

The film stars Hugo Weaving as Daniel Fisher, a war photographer who has just returned home to prepare for his latest exhibition when a South Sudanese refugee Sebastian Aman (Andrew Luri) appears at his door with a request – that he not exhibit any photographs of the massacre in his village, taken 15 years earlier. What emerges is an unlikely friendship between the two men but it is severely put to the test when Daniel makes a shocking discovery.

Judy & Punch is a visceral and dynamic live-action reinterpretation of the famous 17th century puppet show. Writer-director Mirrah Foulkes turns the traditional story of Punch and Judy on its head and brings to life a fierce, darkly comic and epic female-driven revenge story, starring Mia Wasikowska and Damon Herriman.

Produced by Michele Bennett, Nash Edgerton and Danny Gabai, Judy and Punch is a dark, absurd fable treading a line between fairy-tale, fantasy and gritty realism, all of which work together to establish a unique tone while upsetting viewer expectations.

MIFF@CinefestOZ drama Measure for Measure is a contemporary re-telling of Shakespeare’s play of the same name. An unlikely romance ignites between a young immigrant Muslim girl and a young musician, set against Melbourne’s notorious commission flats, where a world of crime, drugs and racial disharmony reign ….

Supported by the MIFF Premiere Fund, the film is directed by Paul Ireland (Pawno), co-written with the late actor Damian Hill and stars Hugo Weaving, Harrison Gilbertson, Megan Hajjar, Mark Leonard Winter, Daniel Henshall and Fayssal Bazzi.

Each of the five CinefestOZ Film Prize finalists will screen during CinefestOZ, along with an exciting program of other new Australian features, short films, documentaries, industry workshops and more than 150 related events.

Early Bird tickets for CinefestOZ are available now through the CinefestOZ website.

The full film and event program and ticket sales goes live on 26 July.

CinefestOZ is supported by the State Government through Tourism WA’s Regional Events Program. Rio Tinto is a proud Premium Partner of CinefestOZ. The festival acknowledges its strong partnership with Screenwest, Western Australia’s screen funding and development agency.

Full ticket sales – 26 July

Festival dates – 28 August – 1 September 2019

Leith spent most of his formative years growing up on the coastal fringes of Western Australia without a cinema in sight. There he grew up on the wonders of home rentals before relocating to Perth and gaining access to a proper cinematic experience just in time for the Star Wars Special Edition re-releases. From there Leith's love of movies expanded to volunteering on a Star Wars fan film, reviewing films, writing about film news, and attending film and pop-culture related conventions on the other side of the world. Leith's favourite films are too many to mention but all start with the Star Wars saga, Back to the Future, the Dark Knight trilogy, Indiana Jones, Lord of the Rings and all things Kevin Smith. With an insatiable appetite for all things pop-culture related Leith also has an unhealthy addiction to the world of comics and can often be found buried under a pile of unread back issues madly trying to catch up on a number of titles coming out from mostly DC and Darkhorse.

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