2017 is the tenth anniversary of CinefestOZ and the fourth year that $100,000 will be awarded to the producer of an Australian feature film. The prize, established to reward excellence in Australian filmmaking, is awarded by a five-person 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,” CinefestOZ festival chair Helen Shervington 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.”
Academy Award-nominated director, producer, and screenwriter Scott Hicks (Shine) will head the jury of this year’s festival, which runs August 23-27.
Ali’s Wedding, produced for Matchbox Pictures by Sheila Jayadev and Helen Panckhurst, is based on the true story of lead actor Osamah Sami’s (Journey) arranged marriage that lasted less than two hours. This rom-com follows Ali, a Muslim cleric’s son, as he has to figure out what to do when he is forced into an arranged marriage when he is in love with someone else.
Australia Day, written by Stephen M. Irwin (Secrets and Lies) and starring Bryan Brown and Sean Keenan, tackles contemporary issues of racial tension and national identity that simmer beneath the surface of modern Australia. It is a Hoodlum Production for Foxtel.
Daniel Radcliffe (Harry Potter) stars in Jungle, an adventure drama in the Bolivian jungle based on the international bestselling memoir of the same name by Yossi Ghinsberg. The adventure drama from director Greg McLean (Wolf Creek) and producer Todd Fellman is a MIFF@CinefestOZ film.
Three-time BAFTA and two-time Olivier Award-winning Australian Ben Elton (The Thin Blue Line) returns to CinefestOZ for a second consecutive year with his ensemble romantic comedy Three Summers. The Western Australian production takes place over three summers at a folk festival and stars Magda Szubanski, Michael Caton, Kelton Pell, and more.
“This year’s finalists are a showcase of strong directors, many with ties to WA,” said Western Australian Minister for Culture and the Arts, the Honourable David Templeman MLA. “The benchmark is set higher and higher each year and 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.”
Picture Caption: Ian Booth (Screenwest CEO), The Gateway director John V. Soto, Margaret Buswell (Festival Deputy Chair), Three Summers Executive Producer Mark Anderson at the finalists announcement.