The West Australian
August 3, 2013
The Busselton-based CinefestOZ continues to be the little festival that could. Organisers have secured the WA premieres of several major Australian movies and attracted a line-up of guests – including this year’s Screen Legend Jack Thompson – that would be impressive for much larger, more established events.
Running from August 21-25, CinefestOZ will feature Kim Mordaunt’s Thailand-set feel-good sensation The Rocket, one of the hottest films on the festival circuit; Ivan Sen’s contemporary western, Mystery Road; and Patrick, the remake of the horror classic from Mark Hartley, who made the acclaimed doco on Oz exploitation movies, Not Quite Hollywood.
Even more gratifying is that CinefestOZ will be unveiling two major WA productions: Zak Hilditch’s end-of-the-world redemption thriller, These Final Hours, and Rachel Ward’s made-for-ABC period drama An Accidental Soldier, and one with very strong WA links, the six episodes of The Turning that were shot in this State.
The Turning has been adapted from Tim Winton’s celebrated short story collection by a group of top-flight Australian directors, each of whom has put their own stamp on 18 loosely interlinked episodes (Robert Connolly is the overall producer).
The segments to be screened include Commission, which is directed by David Wenham and stars Hugo Weaving and Josh McConville, The Turning, which is directed by Claire McCarthy and features Rose Byrne and Miranda Otto, and Ian Meadows’ Defender with Dan Wyllie, Kate Mulvany and Gibson Nolte.
Anticipation for The Turning, to be unveiled tonight at the Melbourne International Film Festival, couldn’t be higher since Winton has given it his seal of approval, something which this most bracingly honest of authors doesn’t offer lightly.
The French side of the program, which celebrates the Geographe region’s Gallic heritage, is also very strong this year, with a series of works that challenge and provoke, such as Olivier Assayas’ dissection of the post-1968 generation, After May.
Thompson last night strode the red carpet at the Astor Theatre, along with other celebrity guests Rachael Blake and Tony Martin, as more than 600 people celebrated the return of the WA Screen Awards after a year’s hiatus. Among the major winners were Peter Gurbiel and Wade K. Savage for their short drama The Owl, Kelrick Martin for best director (Yagan); Alice Ross for producing the best feature-length documentary Hunter: For the Record and Nelson Woss, who picked up another award for Red Dog (best feature-length drama).
The acting prizes went to Fern Nicholson for Potato Peelers and Wayne Davies for Heaven.
The overall achievement awards went to Keir Wilkins (Young Filmmaker of the Year) and Sue Taylor (Outstanding Contribution Award).
The busy Wilkins, 25, was acknowledged for his three short films (Bystander, Life in Red String and Blue) and for his script attachment to the movie Underground: The Julian Assange Story. He walked away with $5000 and plenty of kudos.
At the other end of the career spectrum is Taylor, who was recognised for her many years as one of the driving forces of the WA screen industry, a brilliant career that culminated in her co-producing in the Cannes Film Festival closer, The Tree.