CinefestOZ are proud to unveil NITRAM MIFF@CinefestOZ as the winning Film Prize finalist at this year’s festival.
The filmmakers for Nitram were awarded the honour by a Jury of industry professionals at the glamorous Closing Night Gala this evening in Busselton, at Orana Cinema. The prize of $100,000 was awarded by Minister Don Punch, representing Tourism Minister David Templeman.
The CinefestOZ Film Prize recognises excellence in the craft of filmmaking from an Australian feature film or feature-length documentary. Introduced in 2014, the prize is made possible through Tourism WA’s Regional Events Program.
CinefestOZ Jury Chair Nadia Tass, who has supported the festival virtually from Melbourne this week, said of the Jury’s deliberation, “The jury acknowledges the extraordinary challenges that each of the filmmakers has had to overcome to make their films in these unique times.”
She explained their mandate was to judge the four films from a perspective of excellence.
“We explored many different film categories to judge – originality, the power of the story, the pacing, the structure, the memorable characters, the quality of the acting, the cinematography and how it is aligned with the narrative, and the ability of the filmmaker to create a strong and cohesive experience in the cinema,” Tass said.
“After much deliberation we agree Nitram presented a unique perspective of this story, with great use of cinematic language, depth of detail, particularly in performance and many layers of nuance.
On the basis of excellence in cinema, we are awarding Nitram the Film Prize for CinefestOZ in 2021.”
Director Justin Kurzel’s compelling drama-thriller depicts the lead-up to one of the darkest events in Australian history, and was selected to premiere at the coveted Festival de Cannes this year – the first Australian film to do so in-competition in 10 years.
Featuring an incredible cast of International and Australian talent, the film stars Caleb Landry Jones, Judy Davis, Essie Davis and Anthony LaPaglia. The film is directed by Kurzel (The Turning, Macbeth, Snowtown, True History of the Kelly Gang) and written by Shaun Grant (Penguin Bloom, Snowtown).
On the Film Prize Award, Nitram’s producers Virginia Whitwell and Nick Batzias said, “We feel honoured to have received this extraordinary prize for the film and thank the Jury, CinefestOZ and Tourism WA. In partnership with Justin Kurzel and Shaun Grant, we look forward to using the prize money to propel new Australian stories and support emerging and established local filmmakers.”
Director Justin Kurzel also extended his thanks to the Jury.
“I feel extremely honoured that Nitram was selected and awarded the CinefestOZ Film Prize. Thank you to the Jury and I so wish I was able to attend. The film happened because a group of very dedicated and loyal crew and cast came together and believed in the project. A big thanks to the incredible producers Nick and Virginia who are just the most amazing people and if it was not for them we would not have been able to make Shaun’s extraordinary script,” he said.
The 2021 additional Jury members – Isla Fisher, Zak Hilditch, Judi Levine and Julia Redwood – were all in attendance at Gala Night to walk the star-studded Busselton red carpet and celebrate the achievements of all four Film Prize finalists.
Nitram was selected from fellow finalists Here Out West, River and The Drover’s Wife The Legend of Molly Johnson.
Chair of CinefestOZ Helen Shervington said, “It’s been another festival unlike any other, and I’m proud of the CinefestOZ team and Jury members for adapting to the ever-changing circumstances surrounding this year’s event,” she said.
“This year’s Jury have brought their professionalism, dedication and expertise to finalising a winner in what was a very competitive year for our finalists. Congratulations to all of our Film Prize filmmakers for their contribution to a fantastic CinefestOZ.”
Tourism Minister David Templeman congratulated the entire cast and crew and said it was a fantastic outcome that demonstrated the top-quality Australian films this country produced.
“The McGowan Government is a proud supporter of the WA screen industry and is committed to the construction of a screen production facility in Fremantle and of course the $16 million WA Regional Film Fund,” he said.
“Both initiatives will support the local industry to continue to grow and flourish into the future.”
Isla Fisher was also recognised at this evening’s Gala for her outstanding contribution to the film industry and named the CinefestOZ 2021 Screen Legend.
The Screen Legend is recognised for playing a valuable role in supporting excellence in Australian filmmaking, which CinefestOZ proudly showcases through a variety of film events and screenings across Western Australia’s South West region over the five-day festival.
CinefestOZ would like to acknowledge the traditional owners of the land we live and work on, and pay our respect to the Elders past, present and future.