The 2017 CinefestOZ film festival officially opens this evening with a series of opening night gala events and film screenings across the region.
The five day festival has grown in popularity since its inception in 2008 and in 2016 attracted more than 25,000 attendances at events from Bunbury to Augusta.
The CinefestOZ Film Prize offers $100,000 to the winning film to be selected this year from finalists Ali’s Wedding, Australia Day, MIFF@CinefestOZ film Jungle, and Three Summers.
Academy Award nominated writer and director Scott Hicks will attend the festival as this year’s Film Prize Jury Chair and will be joined by special guests actors Myles Pollard and Kelton Pell, while comedian, actor, writer and director Ben Elton will return for his second consecutive year at CinefestOZ.
Kelton Pell was announced last month as the festival’s first IndigifestOZ Koorda, or ‘friend’ in Noongar – a position offered to renowned Australian Indigenous filmmakers. Mr Pell,who stars in the Elton-directed Three Summers, will hold the official title for three years.
“I’d like to acknowledge our Elders past and present, especially Nanna Ellen Hill,” Mr Pell said. “As someone who descends from this country, and whose family belong to Busselton, I feel honoured to be invited as Koorda to this moorditch film festival.”
Bunbury’s opening night event at Grand Cinemas tonight features the WA premiere screening of What If It Works? Enjoy a pre-function soiree of canapes and beverages before watching Luke Ford and Anna Samson star in the story of an impossible romance.
Filmmakers, talented actors and red carpet photo opportunities will transform Bunbury Regional Entertainment Centre’s foyer for the Australian premiere of John V. Soto’s The Gateway.
Enjoy a drink on arrival and delicious canapes in the Sky Bar overlooking views of the City’s inlet before watching this gripping sci-fi film starring Jacqueline McKenzie and Myles Pollard.
After the film screens, there will be the chance to have a question and answer session with the director and the film’s stars.
Other Bunbury events include the Australia’s Funniest Short Films at the Rose Hotel on Saturday night and the Gala Showcase of short films at the Lord Forrest Hotel on Sunday afternoon from 1pm.
Grand Cinemas will host a number of films across the five day festival including The Odyssey, a French film about Jacques Cousteau and his incredible sea voyages on Thursday from 6pm while Three Summers, a film prize finalist starring Magfa Szubanski will screen on Saturday night.
For a full list of events including free screenings and to book tickets visit cinefestoz.com.