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David Barton (Chairman) and David Wenham (Patron).
Before attending ‘Cinefest-OZ’ 2012, I had never even heard of the small town of Busselton, WA, cozily tucked away in southwest Australia just 220km south of Perth. I came, I saw, I conquered, and now my international film festival experience is richer after having visited this unique little beach town and its one of a kind boutique wine and film festival.
This Western Australian region is simply stunning and a jolt for the senses. After having taken inspiring walks on the long stretch of Busselton Beach that prides the southern hemisphere’s longest wooden jetty, sipped frothy cappuccinos from the famous ‘Goose’ café, savored luscious local WA wines at the Margaret River estate wineries, feasted on local fresh fish catches, marveled at the occasional rainbows through breezy eucalyptus forests; I could go on… After all, Lonely Planet chose South Western Australia as one of its top ten picks for best holiday destinations in 2010.
Oh, and I almost forgot… This is a film festival! Aside from all the surrounding activities and natural beauty, over twenty Australian and French films were screened during the five days of the 'Cinefest-OZ' film festival from August 22-25. The French connection to WA goes back to early French exploration of the region, which explains the wine and cinema culture wedded together, not unlike a miniature Cannes Film Festival with top notch wining and dining as forefront to sunny stretches of beach, vast vineyards and ubiquitous film culture events including- film forums, master classes, panels, Q and A’s, interviews, script readings, film screenings, red carpet film premiers and post premier galas. What more can one ask for from a niche film festival?
Among the festival attendees, Aussie actor David Wenham (Lord of the Rings, 300, Australia) became a patron to the festival this year. Other industry guests included actors: Bryan Brown, Rachel Ward, Matilda Brown, Emma Booth, Sean Keenan, Chinese Actress Zhou Lan (Deep Sleep No More), and directors: Martyn Park (Isolate), Carmelo Musca, Mario Andreacchio, Colin and Cameron Cairnes (100 Bloody Acres), Pauline Chan (33 Postcards) and more industry guests.
‘Cinefest-Oz’ takes place every August in the Margaret River/Busselton region of WA and features a wide range of Australian films and Australian international co-productions. 2012 being the festival’s fifth year, guests and attendees jumped from 8000 attendees last year to 10,000 this year. There is no doubt popularity will rise for this film festival in coming years, and being that it is small and boutique, it will maintain its charm as an inimitable event not to be missed.
FILMS SCREENED AT ‘CINEFEST-OZ’ 2012:
'The Intouchables' (French comedy. WA Premiere)
In addition CinéfestOZ screened an expanded program of short films and documentaries.
-written by Vanessa McMahon
'Cinefest-OZ' board memebers with actress Emma Booth.
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