53 West Australian films. 35 premieres, including 27 world premieres. 11 short films made exclusively for the WA Made Film Festival. 12 incredible sessions.
Building on the overwhelming success of its inaugural event in 2020, this year’s WA Made Film Festival is shaping up to be the biggest celebration of locally-made screen content Western Australia has ever seen.
With seven feature film event screenings, three short film showcases, a special Ship to Shore reunion event, and the introduction of a WA-first smartphone filmmaking competition called Get Smart! Presented by Buy West Eat Best, the WA Made Film Festival will deliver the very best of WA’s booming screen industry when it launches on March 12 at Palace Cinemas Raine Square, right in the heart of Perth city.
“We received a record number of submissions this year which proves that local filmmakers see great benefit in having their very own film festival,” said festival director, Matthew Eeles. “After a tough year, we couldn’t be any prouder of the local filmmaking community and it’s an honour to be able to support local filmmakers through this festival.”
“The WA Made Film Festival puts local filmmakers first, and that’s what matters the most. Our films won’t be programmed among international and national films like they are at other festivals. WA filmmakers and their films will be front and centre for everyone to celebrate and enjoy,” Matthew continued.
The WA Made Film Festival will run over three massive days and promises an energetic and engaging atmosphere at all screenings. Selected sessions will include before and after parties, networking events, Q&As, door prizes, iced-coffee provided by Hunt and Brew, beer provided by Atomic Beer Project, wine provided by Forester Estate, and substantial food.
The festival will kick off with the world premiere of Greenfield – a gritty, high-impact drama filmed in the central Wheatbelt town of Merredin. Greenfield follows James, who returns to the small town of Greenfield to win back his former girlfriend, Kelly. Tensions soon explode when Kelly’s brother Michael tells James a volatile secret. A dark shadow unsettles Greenfield when this secret is revealed.
Greenfield may sound familiar to some – it was originally released as a web series a few years ago. This is an entirely new, re-structured feature film version of the original series that’s sure to leave an impact on audiences. Greenfield is directed by Julius Telmer, written by Telmer, Daniel Tenni and Jevgeni Nicolai Busk, and stars Liam Graham, Ethan Tomas, Marthe Snorresdotter Rovik, Tenni, Claudia C, Renato Fabretti and Kym Bidstrup.
“Greenfield is a powerful piece of WA filmmaking which makes it the perfect film to open the festival,” says Matthew. “Although entirely different in story, I’d compare it to Ben Young’s Hounds of Love in terms of atmosphere. The young cast are impressive too, turning in some of the finest performances I’ve ever seen in a local film.”
SATURDAY, 13 MARCH
Saturday will open with the world premiere of Levon J Polinelli’s horror-comedy Everybody Gets Stabbed. Described as a cross between David Lynch and Taika Waititi, Everybody Gets Stabbedexplores toxic masculinity, while having a lot of fun along the way! Everybody Gets Stabbed follows two stupid mates who begin murdering their friends because they think the world owes them something, when it doesn’t. Everybody Gets Stabbed is directed by Levon J Polinelli, written by Polinelli, Nick Pages-Oliver and Daniel Buckle, and stars Nick Pages-Oliver, Daniel Buckle, Alice Wrobel, Jayden Arts, Philip Lynch, Elise Wilson, Grace Johnson and Mikaela Johnson.
“Other than being a terrific, independently produced feature on its own, what makes this screening of Everybody Gets Stabbed special is the story behind its release,” says Matthew. “Sadly, the hard drives containing all the film’s assets were stolen in January 2020, and all hopes of the film ever being finished or screened were lost. The filmmakers found a near-final cut of the film and got to work during the 2020 lockdowns to polish it up for this historical screening!”
A selection of eight short documentaries will begin the festival’s short film showcases on Saturday morning. This showcase will feature seven premieres, including four world premieres. Highlights include demolition derby doco, Last Man Standing, Buff – a quirky, passionate and affectionate look at the magic of cinema – and Wadjemup: koora wordel, kalygool wordel (Rottnest Island: always was, always will be)– an evocative spiritual introduction to Wadjemup (Rottnest Island).
Lucky Chan’s Laundry and Noodle Bar will present a unique world premiere screening of short film, Batgirl Returns, and the quirky and outlandish comedy, Toxic Obsession. Batgirl Returns is a fan film written, directed and produced by comic book lovers Matthew W Reynolds and Chloe Brown and follows the adventures of Barbara Gordon, a Gotham City identity who trains herself to become The Batgirl. Scenes from Batgirl Returns were filmed at Lucky Chan’s Laundry and Noodle Bar. Directed by James Pentecost and written by Desmond Hew, Toxic Obsession follows Bryan Fernandez – a regular guy whose life is turned upside down when several of his many ex-lovers hatch a plan to get even with the womaniser.
Saturday will also see a very special screening of WA Screen Culture Awards Winner, Laura’s Choice. A feature documentary that explores complex questions as three generations of women travel into uncharted territory and navigate a radical, dignified and highly controversial approach to dying. Laura Henkel is eccentric, outspoken, feisty and 90 years old. She has decided she wants to end her life on her own terms. She does not have a terminal illness; she just wants to be in control of the process, and be allowed to go with dignity. And she asks her daughter Cathy and granddaughter Sam, both filmmakers, to make a film about it. Both Cathy and Sam will join audiences for an intimate in-conversation following the screening.
Saturday will wrap up with an incredible showcase of award-winning WA shorts including the world premiere of Jadai: The Broome Brawler, astronaut drama Carmentis, Abduction, Antecedents and the hilarious comedy, A Handful of Toenails.
“A Handful of Toenails will have people squirming in their seats while laughing out loud at the same time. In my opinion, it is without a doubt one of the best short films ever made in Western Australia. Almost two months after my first viewing, I’m still telling people about it,” said Matthew.
SUNDAY, 14 MARCH
Sunday will kick off with the high-octane, Fast and Furious-inspired gangster thriller, Tainted Getaway. What was meant to be a once-in-a-lifetime job opportunity for Allison Haven becomes a nightmare when she’s abducted by escaped convict, Brock Bremmer, who vows to retrieve his lost money from a past heist. Little does he know an old nemesis, Mason, is hot on his trail to retrieve it as well, including the authorities who will stop at nothing to bring them to justice. Tainted Getaway is directed by Desmond Hew, Scott A. Summers and Rizal Halim,
written by Hew, Summers and Dizzy Daryl and stars Tyson Barry, Chloe Brown and Mark De Vattimo.
“What impressed me the most about Tainted Getaway is the locations featured in the film. Believe it or not, Perth city is rarely seen in WA movies, so it was a pure delight to see locations like Karrakatta Cemetery and Perth Train Station feature heavily in the film,” said Matthew. “There’s an entire shootout filmed at the train station and I spent the entire time wondering how they managed to accomplish such an impressive scene.”
During the programming stages, festival organisers couldn’t look past the utterly bizarre and equally hilarious, An Ideal Host– another WA Screen Culture Awards Winner. Directed by Robert Woods, written by Tyler Jacob Jones and starring Nadia Collins, Evan Williams, Naomi Brockwell, St John Cowcher, Mary Soudi, Daniel Buckle and Tristan McInnes, An Ideal Host is a genre-bending sci-fi comedy that follows Liz, a young woman who just wants to host a perfect dinner at her and her partner’s newly purchased rural property. It’s a lovely spot and she hasn’t seen her friends for a long time – but with them comes a couple of uninvited guests who upset the apple cart, and Liz’s best laid plans, with their behaviour once the alcohol begins to flow.
One of the most exciting and unique events featured in this year’s festival lineup is a very special, one-off Ship to Shore Reunion screening. To this day Ship to Shore is still one of the most successful children’s television shows ever made in WA. Devised by David Rapsey in 1993, and written by brother John Rapsey among many others, Ship to Shore was shown on the ABC and Channel 9 in Australia, on YTV in Canada, and on Nickelodeon in the United States and the United Kingdom. Ship to Shore follows the comic adventures of the kids who live on the fictional Circe Island, a fishing community off the coast of WA. Some kids call it Paradise, the others call it a prison and long for the mainland. Ship to Shore was filmed on location in Point Peron and Rockingham, with shots of Garden Island and the bridge to HMAS Stirling creating the feel of an island. The WA Made Film Festival will screen three episodes from the original series and will include an educational Q&A event for young aspiring actors with executive producer Paul Barron and legendary casting director Annie Murtagh-Monks along with a handful of original cast members from the series.
“Whenever I hear the familiar Ship to Shore theme music, I get an overwhelming feeling of nostalgia. I grew up during the peak of Ship to Shore’s popularity and I would often rush home from school to make sure I didn’t miss the latest episode,” says Matthew. “Prior to locking Ship to Shore into our program we asked a lot of people what they thought about a possible Ship to Shore reunion screening and we were always met with excitement and booming exclamations of, ‘I LOVED THAT SHOW!’. It’s an absolute thrill to be able to reintroduce a new audience to the series, and to replay it for those who grew up with it.”
Perhaps the WA Made Film Festival’s proudest achievement this year, the WA-first smartphone filmmaking competition Get Smart! Presented by Buy West Eat Best will feature 11 short smartphone films made exclusively for the festival. All films featured in the program will be eligible for a $1000 cash prize for Best Film as voted by our Smart Jury – Batgirl Returns’ Chloe Brown, An Ideal Host director Robert Woods, and screenwriter and performer Sukhjit Kaur Khalsa.
“We were truly blown away by the submissions we received for this new smartphone filmmaking competition,” said Matthew. “From the quality of the acting, to the cinematography and the profound stories featured in the films, Get Smart! Presented by Buy West Eat Best is a great introduction to an entirely new and extraordinarily competent generation of WA filmmakers.”
A third and final short film showcase will lead audiences into a massive Sunday night. These ten short films will include three world premieres, one Australian premiere and three WA premieres including the fast-paced action short Runner, the Bewitched-inspired comedy Tea and Hot Flushes, and the atmospheric two-hander, Sanctuary.
The WA Made Film Festival’s Closing Night will feature the must-see world premiere of the highly-anticipated, Esperance-shot documentary, Jaimen Hudson: From Sky to Sea that follows an expectant father with quadriplegia from a remote coastal town in Western Australia who struggles to pursue his childhood dream of filming underwater. Jaimen Hudson’s aerial whale and dolphin imagery are stunning. His spectacular photographs and videos reach hundreds of millions of people online and he has been interviewed by media organisations across the world. However Jaimen has a dream to take his talents to the next level and pursue his childhood dream of filming whales and marine life underwater. Embarking on the greatest challenge of his life, Jaimen begins his quest to become the world’s first underwater cinematographer with quadriplegia. Struggling against the constraints of his disability, his reduced lung capacity and the concerns of those around him, Jaimen sets out to prove to himself and the world that nothing will keep him from achieving his dreams. This is his story.
Jaimen Hudson: From Sky to Sea directorLeighton De Barros, producerJodie De Barros and Jaimen Hudson himself will all attend this special world premiere screening and will join those attending for a Q&A session following the screening.
The WA Made Film Festival is proudly supported by Screenwest and Lotterywest. Sponsors of the WA Made Film Festival include Buy West Eat Best, Quay Perth, Atomic Beer Project, Forester Estate, Sandbox, Soundbyte, Fremantle Herald and Perth Voice Newspapers, Comedy Lounge, Raine Square, Hunt and Brew, Palace Cinemas, RAC Arena, Geographik, Lucky Chan’s Laundry and Noodle Bar, South Beach Boardies, Cinemachine Motion Picture Equipment and is co-presented by Cinema Australia.
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