We are delighted to announce that award-winning Australian feature film, television and theatre actor Sigrid Thornton has accepted the role of Jury Chair for the 2018 Festival.

Throughout her career Sigrid has been awarded numerous film, television, theatre awards and nominations including Silver and Gold Logie, AFI, Mo and IF awards and is widely acknowledged as an icon of Australian screen, television and stage.

Over the years Sigrid has been a key player in an unusually diverse range of formats and genres, with the national press coining the phrase ‘The Sigrid Factor’. CinefestOZ is proud to add 2018 Jury Chair to Sigrid’s list of accomplishments.

Since first gracing the silver screen in 1977 (The F.J. Holden), Sigrid has starred in many films now regarded as classics of Australian cinema. They include George Miller’s box office hits The Man From Snowy River and the sequel Return to Snowy River, The Lighthorsemen directed by Simon Wincer and Slate, Wyn And Me. More recent films include Face to Face directed by Michael Rymer, Inspector Gadget 2, US indie feature BFFs AND the Cairnes Brothers’ highly anticipated second feature Scare Campaign.

Her stellar television career highlights include the Australian landmark series Seachange (ABC TV), Wentworth (Foxtel), The Code (ABC), The Boy in the Bush (Channel 4 UK) opposite Kenneth Brannagh, and the BBC/ABC co-production The Far Country opposite Michael York. 1915 for BBC/ABC proved a hugely popular mini-series throughout China, Eastern and Western Europe (Sigrid was awarded top foreign personality in Sweden). She also became the first Australian actress to star in a US network series Paradise and was awarded the highly prestigious Cowboy Hall of Fame award for Best Television Contribution to Western Heritage. Ratings winner Little Oberon (Channel 9) and smash hit Underbelly – The Golden Mile and her guest starring role in the cult hit interactive comedy, Seven Days Later have continued to consolidate Sigrid’s unique position in the Australian film and television landscape. In 2015 she won rave reviews in her “mesmerising,” “master class,” “revelatory” portrayal of the world’s first bona fide superstar, Judy Garland in the Joel Jackson-starring telemovie Peter Allen: The Boy Next Door (Channel 7) and went on to appear in ABC’s The Code alongside Anthony LaPaglia and on the notorious Foxtel Soho series Wentworth.

In 2015/2016 she joined Anthony Warlow on stage in Fiddler on the Roof after her 2014 stage appearance as Blanche Du Bois in Black Swan’s production of A Streetcar Named Desire broke all records for the company with an extended sell out season accompanied by rave reviews. Simon Philips production of The Blue Room also broke records for the MTC touring nationally to sell out dates across Australia and Sigrid has toured nationally co-starring with Oscar winner Brenda Blethyn in Alan Bennett’s Talking Heads. Her stage performance as ‘Desiree’ in Sondheim’s A Little Night Music, again with Anthony Warlow garnered rave reviews for Opera Australia in Sydney and Melbourne. Sigrid has been the recipient of many awards, award nominations, honours and medals for her work, including Best Actress for ICA’s Australian tour of The Blue Room.

‘I’m honoured and delighted to be taking on the role of Jury Chair at CinefestOz. Each year it continues to expand its national reach and reputation, and given its stunning setting in WA’s South West, it’s long been known in the wider film community as the friendliest festival. Can’t wait!’, Thornton said.

“Sigrid Thornton will bring a wealth of experience and gravitas to the role of Jury Chair. Her accomplishments on screen, television and stage equip her well to steer the awarding of this unique prize for Australian film. We are simply delighted the role of Jury Chair is in such safe hands ”, CinefestOZ Chair Helen Shervington said.

The CinefestOZ Film Prize encourages excellence in Australian filmmaking by providing a $100,000 financial award to an Australian feature film or feature-length documentary. In 2017, the
CinefestOZ Film Prize was won by the entertaining and moving comedy Ali’s Wedding, which has recently enjoyed international success after being selected at a number of film festivals in the USA, been nominated for a total of 23 awards and winning 8 including a 2017 AACTA for Best Original Screenplay and 2018 Film Critics Circle of Australia Awards for Best Screenplay and Best Film.

Tourism Minister Paul Papalia welcomed the appointment of the renowned actor as the CinefestOZ jury chair and said the festival continued to attract key players in Australia’s film industry.

“Over the past decade, CinefestOZ has grown from a small niche film festival to a much-anticipated feature of the South West events calendar,” Mr Papalia said. “When it started in 2008, the event had an attendance of 1,898 and last year that figure grew to 27,500. Regional events such as CinefestOZ form an important part of Tourism WA’s Two-Year Action Plan to grow the number of visitors to Western Australia.”

Sigrid will be joined on the 2018 CinefestOZ Film Prize Jury by a selection of esteemed film industry professionals to be announced soon. The full CinefestOZ film and event program and ticket sales go live on July 27, 2018. Early bird tickets will be available from July 6 on this website.

CinefestOZ is supported by the State Government through Tourism WA’s Regional Events Program, Rio Tinto is a proud Premium Partner of CinefestOZ. The festival acknowledges its strong partnership with Screenwest; Western Australia’s screen funding and development agency.