CinefestOZ has named AACTA award-winning actress Emma Booth as a Patron of the festival.
The West Australian-born actress, best known for the award-winning Australian thriller Hounds of Love and TV series Glitch and The Gloaming, has been attending the festival for years and said she was delighted to become an ‘official member’ of the CinefestOZ family.
“Over the years, the team behind CinefestOZ has become like a family to me and I am in awe of the effort they put into the festival,” said Booth, who first attended the festival back in 2012. “It’s truly a magical experience for everyone who attends. Busselton is my home when I’m in Australia and CinefestOZ has always been one of the highlights of the year.”
Booth became an international success after starring in Clubland, which was screened at the Sundance Film Festival and introduced her to global audiences. Her acting credits include Glitch, Once Upon a Time, Cloudstreet, Underbelly and Hounds of Love, for which she won the 2017 AACTA Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role. She also starred in the WA-made feature film H Is For Happiness, which last year won the $100,000 CinefestOZ Film Prize.
Earlier this year, she appeared on screen alongside Ewen Leslie in the Stan original series The Gloaming and will reprise her role as troubled detective Molly McGee in the second series of the haunting crime thriller, which is currently in development.
CinefestOZ Chair Helen Shervington said Booth had played an integral part in the growth and success of the festival and having an actress of such international repute, who also happens to hail from the South West, is cause for much celebration.
“We are so pleased to have Emma on board in an official capacity alongside our other Patrons, David Wenham, Kelton Pell, Myles Pollard and The Hon. Barry House,” Shervington said. “Emma understands and embodies all that the festival is about and her talent, drive and infectious energy make her a valuable member of our close-knit team, particularly this year as we adapt the festival to online and live offerings.”
CinefestOZ will hold live events in the South West from August 25-30 as part of a modified program. The festival will look and feel a little different in 2020 but will continue to champion Australian stories and film through an abridged program which will feature films, short film curations, Cinesnaps schools program activations, community screenings and more.
“Now more than ever, arts and culture play such an essential role in our lives and CinefestOZ’s commitment to storytellers from all walks of life is second to none,” said Booth. “Each year the CinefestOZ line-up seems to get better and they are consistently showcasing an ever-expanding array of talent. I can’t wait to see what we get up to this year.”
CinefestOZ will be the first Australian film festival to host screenings for live cinema audiences since the easing of restrictions following the COVID-19 pandemic. The full program will be announced on 31 July and will incorporate at least 40 live events and screenings along with a selection of online screenings.
For the first time in CinefestOZ’s 13-year history, the festival will also include a Short Film Competition with prizes up for grabs for Best Short Film, Best Indigenous Short Film, Best WA Short Film, Best WA Female Short Filmmakers, Best Lead Actor, Best Director and Audience Choice.
“2020 has been an interesting year, to say the least, and I think it’s the arts that get us through when the going is tough,” said Booth. “The past eight months have been so testing and isolating for so many people around the world and that’s why I think we need to double our commitment as Australians to making great art.
“I know that we are all excited to get back to work and create some magical stories. The talent we have in Australia is some of the best in the world and I am looking forward to seeing all the creativity that has been taking place behind the scenes. In my opinion, Australian films and film festivals will come back from this stronger than ever.”