Winners of the CinefestOZ Short Film Competition were announced las night at Margaret River HEART as part of Australia’s largest destination film festival held from 23-28 August in Western Australia’s beautiful South West.

Recognising exceptional storytelling and talent in the short filmmaking sector of the Australian film industry, seven winners were chosen from an overwhelming 140 entries received from filmmakers across Australia.

Taking out the top award for Best Short Film and $5000 in prize money was Freedom Swimmer – the story of a grandfather’s perilous swim from China to Hong Kong that parallels his granddaughter’s own quest for a new freedom – by writer and director Olivia Martin-McGuire and producers Brooke Silcox, Ron Dyens and Olivia Martin-McGuire.

More Short Film Prize Winners include:

Best Indigenous Short Film – Finding Jedda – directed, written and produced by Tanith Glynn-Maloney. ($2500 Prize)

CineWest Best Western Australian Short Film – Peregrinations of a Citizen Botanist – directed by Emma Vickery and produced by Susie Vickery. ($2500 Prize)

Best Lead Actor – Kat Stewart for her performance in Victim

Best Director – Riley Sugars won for Hatchback for showing initiative with combining a character’s story with the wider narrative in a seamless and engaging film.

Best Screenplay – Ismail Khan for Sunnies

Best Animation – Larry the Lightbulb by Winston Foo, Dung Nguyen, Christina Vernon and Frank O. Bear

The number of categories and range of films required the creation of two Short Film Prize Juries to review and select the winners, and included Chairs Narelda Jacobs and Krew Boylan, and panelists Douglas Watkin, Rob Murphy, Jason van Genderen and Macario de Souza.

Jury Chair and media presenter Narelda Jacobs said she and her fellow panel members had a very tough job determining the winners due to the range and quality of submissions.

“The Short Film program is fantastic – so many clever filmmakers bringing inspiring and entertaining stories to life stories that inspire and entertain.

“The future of Australia’s film industry looks bright if these films are any indication.”

Actor and writer Krew Boylan, who is the star of Seriously Red, a finalist in the CinefestOZ $100,000 film prize, said that short films are the genius of our film industry.

“I’m so happy to be Jury Chair this year to support, champion and celebrate all these brilliant and diverse story tellers.”

The Short Film Program is being delivered in six sets which take you on a journey this year including Rollercoaster, Party Bus, Vengabus, Delorean Filmmakers of the Future and Deadly Indigenous Shorts.

Celebrating its 15th year CinefestOZ features an epic 270 film screenings and events and will be held from 23-28 August across 35 locations in Western Australia’s South West where festival-goers will see some of Australia’s best new films first, and connect with filmmakers and visiting talent at the region’s cinemas, wineries, restaurants, boutique breweries, small bars and galleries in Augusta, Bunbury, Busselton and Margaret River.

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.

We would also like to recognise a generous Philanthropic donation from Anne Conti specifically for these awards.

CinefestOZ thanks Presenting Partner Tourism WA, Premium Partners Screenwest and City of Busselton and Community Partner Rio Tinto. The festival acknowledges its strong support from Lotterywest and Screen Australia.

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