Today we announce four uniquely Australian films are in the running to win Australia’s richest $100,000 annual film prize at the 2023 Festival (29 August – 3 September) in the beautiful South West of Western Australia (WA). 

Bromley: Light After Dark directed by Sean McDonald will have its World Premiere at CinefestOZ – while Monolith directed by Matt Vesely and MIFF@CinefestOZ films Shayda directed by Noora Niasari and The Rooster directed by Mark Leonard Winter – will have their WA premieres at the Festival and are this year’s Film Prize finalists.

Our CEO Cassandra Jordan said “I’m thrilled to share our Film Prize Finalists for 2023 with Australia and the world.”

“These films all explore personal identity through unique, clever and compelling storytelling and filmmaking, which made them the standouts from this year’s submissions for Film Prize.” 

Recognising excellence in filmmaking from an Australian feature film or feature-length documentary, the Film Prize Finalists’ films will be reviewed by a Jury of film industry experts as part of each film’s premiere public screening. 

Ahead of each Film Prize premiere, filmmakers and attending talent will walk the red carpet, and then post screening enjoy an after party celebration.
Each Film Prize film or documentary is also paired with a unique In Conversation dining experience, where the filmmakers share with guests how they brought their projects to life, while enjoying sensational food at some of the South West’s best restaurants. 

In Conversation tickets for Shayda MIFF@CinefestOZ (lunch event at Rustico on Thurs 31 Aug), Bromley: Light After Dark (lunch at The Studio Bistro, Friday 1 Sep), The Rooster MIFF@CinefestOZ (lunch event at Yarri, Sat 2 Sep) and Monolith (breakfast at Shelter Brewery, Sat 2 Sep) are on sale as part of the Early Bird ticket release from 13 July. 

The winner of the CinefestOZ 2023 Film Prize will be announced on Saturday 2 September as part of the Festival’s Film Prize Award Celebration.

About the Prize Film finalists

Shayda MIFF@CinefestOZ – a brave Iranian mother, finds refuge in an Australian women’s shelter with her six-year-old daughter. Over Persian New Year, they take solace in Nowruz rituals and new beginnings, but when her estranged husband re-enters their lives, Shayda’s path to freedom is jeopardized. Directed by Noora Niasari and starring Zar Amir, Ebrahimi Mojean Aria and Leah Purcell.

The Rooster MIFF@CinefestOZ – when the body of his oldest friend is found buried in a shallow grave, Dan, a small-town cop, seeks answers from a volatile hermit who was the last person to see his friend alive. As Dan gets closer to the truth, he must confront his own personal demons and he discovers that hope can be found in unlikely places. Written and directed by Mark Leonard Winter, Hugo Weaving stars in this filmalongside Phoenix Raei, John Waters and Helen Thomson.

Monolith – A disgraced journalist turns to podcasting to try and rebuild her career but her rush to generate headlines soon uncovers a strange artifact, an alien conspiracy,and the lies at the heart of her own story. Directed by Matt Vesely this sci-fi thriller, shot in one location over three weeks, stars Lily Sullivan as the sole on screen character, with audio cameos from Erik Thomson, Damon Herrimon and Ling Cooper Tang.

Bromley: Light After Dark  – David Bromley was a lost soul, until he found that art appeased the voices in his head and helped him rediscover beauty in the world. Directed by Sean McDonald and produced by Clare Plueckhahn and Cathy Rodda, the documentary features David and Yuge Bromley and will have its World Premiere at CinefestOZ 2023.

Early Bird Tickets

Early Bird tickets
 are now also on sale for favourite CinefestOz events including the Film Prize films and In Conversations; the Film Prize Awards Celebration, the Film Prize Jury Lunch at Aravina Estate, as well as the popular Platinum and Industry Passes.

The full film program for this year’s event will launch on Thursday 20 July. The festival also continues to diversify with the return of ‘Cinesnaps’, the dedicated schools program, free Community Days with IndigifestOZ – a showcase Aboriginal culture and filmmakers, free Community Screenings and the respected Industry Program.

CinefestOZ thanks Premium Partners Screenwest and City of Busselton and Community Partner Rio Tinto. The festival acknowledges its strong support from Lotterywest and Screen Australia.

CinefestOZ would like to acknowledge the traditional owners of this land we live and work on and pay our respect to the Elders past, present and future.


Early Bird Program Announcement: 13 July 
Film Prize Finalists Announcement: 13  July 
Full Program Launch: 20 July 
CinefestOZ Film Festival: 29 August – 3 September