For the first time in its 13-year history, CinefestOZ will include a Short Film Competition with four cash prizes up for grabs.

The competition is supported by both the Festival and Screenwest. Prizes will be awarded at a special presentation evening, to be held on 29 August in the South West of WA and live streamed throughout Australia.

The prizes being presented as part of the Short Film Competition include:

• CinefestOZ Short Film Prize – $5,000

• CinefestOZ Indigenous Best Short Film – $2,500

• CineWest Best WA Short Film – $2,500

WIFT WA will also present a $1,000 cash prize for the Best WA Female Short Filmmakers.

CinefestOZ Chair Helen Shervington said the inclusion of prizes for short film is a realisation of the Festival’s aim to further place a spotlight on WA and Australian filmmakers. Shervington said the Short Film Competition was part of a modified film festival program that will use streaming technology to deliver film events to even greater audiences.

“We’ve tackled the challenges of a global pandemic head-on to present festival components online, while leaving the door open for physical attendance within health guidelines,” Shervington said. “Turning the spotlight on short filmmakers and presenting a special night recognising their talents will be a highlight of this year’s festival.”

Screenwest CEO Willie Rowe applauded the Festival for their quick pivot during this challenging time, “It is great to see CinefestOZ take their festival online and continue to celebrate Western Australian filmmakers and Western Australian stories with this new initiative,” he said. “Thanks to the contribution of Lotterywest, Screenwest has been able to be responsive and supportive of these changes and innovation required for the festival to continue to reach audiences.”

CinefestOZ has also announced the following short film awards will be presented at the 2020 festival:

• Audience Choice

• Best Director

• Best Lead Actor

In the 2020 festival year, all Australian short films entered into the Festival will be considered for the CinefestOZ Short Film Competition as special consideration of the issues facing the filmmaking sector due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Short filmmakers who have already submitted their films for 2020 will be in the running for the above prizes and awards (if eligible) and contacted by CinefestOZ shortly for further information on their specific eligibility.

To qualify for consideration for the prizes and awards, short filmmakers must meet the Short Film Competition submission guidelines which can be found on the CinefestOZ website https://cinefestoz.com/submit-film/short-films/

The closing date for film submissions has been extended to 5pm AWST, Friday, 3 July. All filmmakers are encouraged to apply.

CinefestOZ will be virtual for 2020, meaning all Australian filmmakers who submit content need to acknowledge their film will be available online – securely – for a time frame within the festival period (25 – 30 August 2020.)