CinefestOZ Film Festival has revealed the full line up of Jury members who will vote on the prestigious $100,000 Film Prize – the country’s richest film award – recognising excellence in Australian filmmaking at this year’s event.
Joining this year’s Jury Chair Nadia Tass on the panel will be actress Isla Fisher, director Zak Hilditch, producer Judi Levine and filmmaker Julia Redwood to decide which of the four films in-competition will take home the title of Film Prize Winner.
This year’s finalists include Here Out West, Nitram MIFF@CinefestOZ, River and The Drover’s Wife The Legend of Molly Johnson. The award will be announced at the Closing Gala Night on Saturday 28 August at Orana Cinemas Busselton.
Nadia Tass is one of Australia’s most innovative directors of both stage and screen. Recently awarded the Screen Leader Award for Outstanding Leadership, Achievement and Services to the Screen Industry, she rose to prominence internationally with the Australian classics Malcolm and The Big Steal. Subsequent films including Pure Luck, Mr Reliable, Amy and Matching Jack have been lauded by audiences and awarded over 70 international awards at film festivals around the world. Her documentary Oleg: The Oleg Vidov Story will have its Australian Premiere as a part of the Official Selection program.
Isla Fisher has 36 years of film and TV experience. Born in the Middle Eastern country of Oman, Fisher’s family moved to Perth, Western Australia when she was a young girl. At the age of nine, Fisher was already appearing in commercials broadcast on Australian television. She then became best known for her role as ‘Shannon Reed’ in the popular soap Home & Away. Internationally Fisher is most widely recognised for her critically-acclaimed performance as Vince Vaughn’s off-kilter love interest in the blockbuster The Wedding Crashers. Other credits
include Gore Verbinski’s award-winning animated feature Rango with Johnny Depp, Baz Lurman’s The Great Gatsby, Tom Ford’s Nocturnal Animals, the romantic comedy Definitely, Maybe with co-star Ryan Reynolds, Now You See Me opposite Mark Ruffalo, Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, Melanie Laurent and Morgan Freeman, Hot Rod with Andy Samberg, The Brothers Grimsby alongside her husband Sascha Baron Cohen, Rebel Wilson and Penelope Cruz, and more recently Blithe Spirit with Judi Dench, Dan Stevens and Leslie Mann. She also studied commedia dell’arte in Paris at the renowned L’école Jacques Lecoq performance school. In June 2016, Fisher made her debut as a children’s author with ‘Marge in Charge’. She has just wrapped Wolf Like Me – a limited series, directed by Abe Forsythe and co-starring Josh Gad, for Peacock and Stan.
Zak Hilditch is a native of Perth, Western Australia and studied film at Curtin University. In 2013 his feature These Final Hours premiered at the Melbourne International Film Festival, picking up The Age Critics Prize for Best Film before later going onto its international premiere in the Director’s Fortnight section of the 2014 Cannes Film Festival. 2017 saw the release of his first US based film, an adaptation of Stephen King’s novella 1922 starring Thomas Jane, which was a Netflix original. 2019 saw the release of his follow up, another Netflix original titledRattlesnake, making Hilditch the first and only Australian to solely write and direct two exclusively Netflix original films. Hilditch is represented by Thruline and WME in the US.
Judi Levine has had an extensive producing career in feature films, television mini-series and documentaries, and has been associated with award-winning film projects since her first short feature Plead Guilty, Get A Bond won an AFI award for Best Screenplay in a Short Film. In addition to producing in Australia, Judi’s work has led her to projects all around the globe. Levine produced The Sessions starring Oscar-winner Helen Hunt, and Oscar-nominees John Hawkes and William H. Macy, which won Audience Awards at Sundance, San Sebastian and Mill Valley Film Festivals, a Sundance Special Jury Prize for Ensemble Cast. Her company Such Much Films is currently in development on a variety of feature films, TV series and documentary projects. Levine recently completed the romantic comedy Falling For Figaro starring Joanna Lumley and Danielle Macdonald due for release in 2021, and is currently in post-production on the WA feature film How To Please A Woman starring Sally Phillips.
Julia Redwood has over 30 years of film industry experience. Her company, Prospero Productions, is one of the leading independent factual production companies in Australia. In this year’s West Australian of the Year Awards she was named Winner of the Business Award. Julia is also a multi award winning director, producer and writer, with her directorial debut Paying for the Piper nominated for two AFI awards and winning the Golden Spire at the San Francisco Film Festival. Recently she has been producing, directing and writing full dome films. Her latest production, Star Dreaming, will have its World Premiere at this year’s CinefestOZ.
CinefestOZ Chair Helen Shervington said this year’s Jury share a fantastic background of diverse industry knowledge and experiences.
“We’re thrilled to have such a mix of professionals on the Jury this year. We pride ourselves on having confident and experienced creatives take on the responsibility of awarding the Film Prize winner, which this year will certainly be a tough decision,” she said.
The CinefestOZ Film Prize was established in 2014 to recognise excellence in Australian filmmaking and is awarded on Gala Night by a five-member industry jury.
The full film program for this year’s CinefestOZ has officially launched with an exciting array of new and established filmmakers premiering their work. Download the official CinefestOZ app to search session times, book tickets and build your calendar of events during the festival.
CinefestOZ would like to acknowledge the traditional owners of the land we live and work on, and pay our respect to the Elders past, present and future.
CinefestOZ thanks Presenting Partner Tourism WA, Premium Partners Screenwest and City of Busselton and Community Partner Rio Tinto. The festival acknowledges its strong support from Lotterywest and Screen Australia.