Held in Western Australia’s scenic South West, famous for its food and wine courtesy of the Margaret River region, CinefestOZ winds up its five day event today, and has announced the winner of its lucrative film prize, awarded each year to an Australian feature film for excellence in filmmaking.
Up against Ladies in Black, 1% and The Merger, Benjamin Gilmour’s follow up to 2007’s Son of a Lion, Jirga has been awarded the lucrative $100,000 cash prize by a jury made up of Jury Chair Sigrid Thornton, Animal Logic CEO Zareh Nalbandian, actress Tasma Walton, Producer Tania Chambers OAM and actor Michael Caton.
“In the spirit of all great film festivals, this was an extremely difficult decision to make,” said Jury Chair Thornton, who was also recognised for her outstanding contribution to the Australian film industry, and named the CinefestOZ 2018 Screen Legend. “We salute all the filmmakers for their very fine work. Jirga is a singular and courageous film, which gives us a visceral insight into an age-old culture. It explores the nature and definition of forgiveness, leaving us with truly unforgettable cinematic moments.”
Benjamin Gilmour (pictured with Thornton and his producer John Maynard) was on hand to accept the award.“We really need a film like this in the world at the moment, thank you CinefestOZ and all the other films in competition. Hopefully this film prize will put more people into the cinema to see this film. Thank you,” said Gilmour.
Described by FilmInk as “short and effective. Some will find it a moving anti-war piece. The look of the film is quite arresting,”, Jirga tells the story of a former Australian soldier (Sam Smith), who returns to Afghanistan seeking redemption from the family of a civilian he accidentally killed during the war.
Previous winners of the CinefestOZ Film Prize include Ali’s Wedding, Girl, Asleep, Putuparri and the Rainmakers and Paper Planes.
Jirga is in cinemas September 27, 2018