Macedonian-born, Melbourne-based writer and director Stolevski also presented his acclaimed debut feature ‘We Are Not Alone’ at the festival.
The CinefestOZ Film Award is dedicated to new films made in Australia and consisted of four finalists. “Sweet As”, the feature debut of local Indigenous director Jub Clerc.
“Sweet As” was based on Clerc’s own experiences as a teenager traveling on a photographic road trip through the spectacular Pilbara region of Western Australia. (It was also selected as one of five Australian projects to screen at the Toronto festival this year.)
The competition jury was chaired by the actor Richard Roxburgh (“Moulin Rouge”, “Elvis”) who was also named this year’s CinefestOZ 2021 Screen Legend, for his outstanding contribution to the Australian film industry.
The six-day festival, held in the scenic Margaret River region, featured a packed schedule of 270 screenings and events featuring Australian shorts, features and documentaries, as well as an industry program from two days with national and international guests.
Helpful local volunteers (distinctly wearing red berets as a nod to the region’s French heritage) have earned CinefestOz the reputation of “[Australia’s] friendliest festival. the event is also a beacon for attracting tourism to the region, as the festival’s program structure encourages attendees to visit the region’s rugged surf beaches, native forests, and upscale wineries and restaurants
While the festival has continued to take place in person each year during covid restrictions, 2022 was the first year since 2019 that the state’s strict border policies were relaxed to allow interstate Australians and international guests to attend it.
CinefestOZ has set itself ambitious goals, already expanding to a subsidiary festival in Albany in the downstate region and will hold its first three-day Indigenous film festival in Broome in November.
“We started as a local film festival fifteen years ago and have accomplished so much,” said Malinda Nixon, CEO of CinefestOZ. Variety. “We are now a premier film festival and the only one focusing on Australian features, shorts and docos.”
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