Festival History

Festival History


  • Helen and David decided to establish CinefestOZ Film Festival as a cultural celebration of the French bicentenary of Antipodean exploration of the South West corner of Western Australia, and the many French place names in use today.
  • A not-for-profit CinefestOZ Board came together with a strong and potent purpose to start this festival.
  • CinefestOZ takes its name – a festival of cinema within a great nation
  • CinefestOZ, a celebration of Australian and French film festival takes place for the first time.
  • A five-day festival of film.
  • First CinefestOZ Board members appointed, each undertaking a range of roles to deliver the first film festival.
  • CinefestOZ’s first opening night film was the highly acclaimed international award winner Black Balloon.
  • First Directors Lunch event held at Cape Lodge.


  • Jerome Paillard, Director, Marché du Film, Cannes Festival visits CinefestOZ
  • The WA premiere of Stone Bros., Australia’s first ever indigenous comedy
  • The Combination’s controversial West Australian screening was met with tumultuous audience acclaim
  • Sixty local community members were trained in roles to care for festival goers. They were the first volunteer Movie Crew
  • Current CEO Malinda Nixon appointed as a part time Event Coordinator to work with a working Board and assist with the festival delivery


  • Two world premiere Australian films screened, Little Sparrows and Needle, both West Australian films.
  • Contracted with the MIFF Premiere Fund, enabling access to new Australian premiere films.
  • Steve Bisley accepts first CinefestOZ Screen Legend award


  • Launched 2011 festival with the first public screening of Red Dog, with special guests Producer Nelson Woss and star attraction Koko (the dog)
  • A record nine Australian feature films screened
  • Director Fred Schepisi and actor David Wenham both presented with CinefestOZ Screen Legend awards
  • Introduced investor forums for Australian filmmakers
  • First premiere screenings held in Bunbury and Margaret River
  • Chair of MIFF describes CinefestOZ as ‘An exquisite jewel of a festival’
  • 900 students attend the Cinesnaps Schools Program
  • First Directors Lunch held at Aravina Estate winery


  • Festival Marquee, located in Memorial Park, a new addition to CinefestOZ
  • Wine tasting tour becomes inaugural feature prior to every Directors’ Lunch
  • Community red carpet allows festival goers to walk the red carpet and see their stars do the same
  • Actor Bryan Brown receives the CinefestOZ Screen Legend award
  • Largest number of Movie Crew volunteers to date
  • First charity lunch held at Leeuwin Estate
  • Schools Program expands with support from Rio Tinto
  • Guests included Rachel Ward, David Wenham, Matilda Brown, Emma Booth, Chinese co-production actresses Zhau Lan, Lie Rongyao, Hoa Bojie, Liu Yuanyuan, Sean Keenan, Tim Ferguson and Ben Young
  • David Wenham becomes patron of CinefestOZ
  • A record 10 feature films premiered
  • Held the world premiere of an Australian-Chinese co-production
  • Joined forces with Screenwest to hold the first producer/investor workshops in WA
  • First live script reading was Tim Ferguson’s Circle Work (film title Spin Out)
  • The CinefestOZ Screen Legends pavement walk opened (Orana Cinemas)



  • Jack Thompson accepts the CinefestOZ Screen Legend award
  • WA chapters of Tim Winton’s The Turning premiered at CinefestOZ (part of MIFF @ CinefestOZ).
  • First Cinesnaps Short Film competition held with the Grand Finale taking place at Georgiana Molloy Anglican School
  • Actors Joseph Pedley, Dean Daly Jones, Alex Williams, David Field and Roy Billing attended
  • 22 Australian feature films screened
  • Four MIFF Premier Fund films screened
  • First red carpet premiere in Bunbury
  • Film related workshops in schools increase 400%
  • Festival successfully lobbies to be home to Australia’s richest film prize and receives funding from the State Government (Tourism WA).



  • The inaugural $100,000 CinefestOZ Film Prize won by Robert Connolly’s charming film Paper Planes
  • Film Prize finalists were FelonySon of A GunThe ReckoningMy Mistress and Paper Planes
  • Director Bruce Beresford led a high profile Film Prize Jury comprising Sue Millikin, Marta Dusseldorp, Margaret Pomeranz and Benjamin Illos
  • CinefestOZ Screen Legend Joel Edgerton joined the festival
  • eQuinox Europe scriptwriting workshop was part of the program, bringing four international presenters
  • Screenwest’s China Film Forum highlighted Chinese co-production opportunities
  • 15 Australian feature films premiered in Western Australia
  • An Aboriginal film collective of screenings is introduced
  • The town of Nannup joined Augusta, Bunbury, Busselton and Margaret River in hosting community screenings
  • Actor Myles Pollard becomes Cinesnaps Schools Program Patron
  • Student filmmaking workshops held to support Cinesnaps Short Film entrants
  • Actors Joel and Nash Edgerton, Alex Williams, Harrison Gilbertson, Viva Bianca, Peter Rowsthorn joined the festival


  • The philanthropic CinefestOZ Foundation launches in March
  • eQuinoxe Europe’s Australian script development workshop returns to CinefestOZ
  • David Wenham Chairs the Film prize jury, joined by actor Sarah Snook, director Wayne Blair, producer Liz Kearney and WA Film and Television Institute’s Annie Murtagh-Monks
  • Over 30 submissions received for the CinefestOZ Film Prize
  • The feature length documentary Putuparri and the Rainmakers wins the CinefestOZ Film Prize over BacktrackNow Add Honey, Pawno, and The Daughter
  • Actor Hugo Weaving accepts the CinefestOZ Screen Legend award in Busselton
  • The China Australia Film Collaboration saw Chinese and Australian filmmakers and financiers come together to coincide with CinéfestOZ to help the development of more co-production films between the two countries.
  • Screenwest hosted several industry events in conjunction with CinéfestOZ, which involved film industry heavyweights including Rob Gibson, Head of Originals at Stan, and Sally Caplan, Head of Production, Screen Australia. Seph McKenna from Roadshow, Stephen Langsford from Quickflix and producer David Jowsey were involved.
  • Actor Shane Jacobson MC’s Gala Night
  • Actors Hugo Weaving, David Wenham, Sarah Snook, Ryan Corr, Myles Pollard, Alex Williams, Lucy Durack and Robyn Butler attend the festival
  • IndigifestOZ showcased Indigenous film and culture at CinefestOZ, with films shown at a Cultural Day, at the Cinesnaps Schools Program, in the general film program and through short film evenings
  • The Rio Tinto Colours: From Country to Coast exhibition, featuring Indigenous art from the Pilbara and South West coincided with CinefestOZ and formed part of festival’s first IndigifestOZ Cultural Day
  • Over 4000 students participated in the 70 film activities on offer through Cinesnaps
  • More than 300 people volunteered at CinefestOZ
  • CinefestOZ Film Program distributed through The West Australian
  • 118 ticketed screenings offered


  • More than 25,000 attendances
  • CinefestOZ Film Prize won by Girl Asleep
  • Film Prize finalists were Jasper Jones, Spin Out, The Death and Life of Otto Bloom and Girl Asleep
  • Gillian Armstrong chaired the Film Prize Jury and was inducted as the CinefestOZ Screen Legend
  • Gala Night hosted by internationally acclaimed writer, actor and filmmaker Ben Elton
  • Actors Xavier Samuel, Morgan Griffin, Travis Jeffery, Lincoln Lewis, Matilda Brown, Hugo Weaving, Myles Pollard, Aaron McGrath and Matthew Whittet attended the festival
  • A delegation of Chinese producers were hosted by Screenwest
  • 16 Side Bar events showcased predominantly short films
  • 20 entries received for the Cinesnaps short film competition
  • 44 Q&A sessions with filmmakers
  • Direct expenditure by visitors to the South West region during CinefestOZ valued at $7.7 million
  • $5.9 million generated in media value from the festival