Over 70 WA-made feature films, short films, and documentaries will take centre stage at this year’s WA Made Film Festival, including twelve films made exclusively for the festival as part of its Get Smart! Presented by Buy West Eat Best smartphone filmmaking competition.
The WA Made Film Festival maintains its reputation as Western Australia’s biggest celebration of local screen culture. It will run across ten days, with celebrations kicking off on Friday, 23 February and continuing until Sunday, 3 March.
“We can’t believe it’s been five years since we launched the first ever WA Made Film Festival back in 2020. Since then, through adversity, we have continued to deliver a world-class festival program featuring the very best of WA-made films, and our 2024 program is no exception,” says Festival Director Matthew Eeles.
This year, the WA Made Film Festival will put an emphasis on celebrating short-form filmmaking by opening the festival with a short film showcase for the first time in the festival’s history. Celebrating Shorts will include a diverse array of short films, ranging from a heartwarming family drama to documentary, animation, and a thriller in the form of Ryan Graeme Allen’s white-knuckle short, Featherfoot.
“Every year, the WA filmmaking community produces more short films than anything else. So, we wanted to honour those films by putting them front and centre during opening night to give them the celebration they deserve,” said Matthew.
Other short film showcases to screen throughout this year’s festival include the highly-regarded and well attended Saturday Night Shorts and Sunday Night Shorts which will showcase 18 high-quality short films across both nights.
2024 will also see the return of Left of Centre, a horror and experimental showcase featuring a selection of frightful shorts played amongst experimental shorts with out-of-the-box filmmaking styles. One of the highlights of the Left of Centre showcase is Fear of the Mind, a fan film exploring the origins of the Batman villain Scarecrow. Fear of the Mind is the second fan film from the Batman universe to screen at the festival after Batgirl Returns, which screened in 2022.
This year, the festival has introduced a brand new showcase featuring short films made exclusively by student filmmakers. This Student Showcase promises an insight into the future of filmmaking in Western Australia and includes a selection of shorts from filmmakers at the beginning and end of their studies. A brand new award for the festival will also be introduced: Best Student Film, as awarded by Managing Director Jasmine Leivers and Festival Director Matthew Eeles.
“There’s nothing quite like watching a filmmaker at the beginning of their careers, and we were so impressed by this particular selection of short films throughout the selection process that we decided to showcase them with a standalone program,” says Matthew.
Get Smart! Presented by Buy West Eat West
The first Saturday of the festival will see the return of WA’s only smartphone filmmaking competition, Get Smart! Presented by Buy West Eat Best. This time around, filmmakers were challenged to make a film with Spaghetti as the theme. The selection of film’s screening throughout the program are sure to be audience pleasers. The winner of the Best Film award, decided by the festival’s Smart Jury, will be awarded with a $1000 cash prize. This year’s Smart Jury includes esteemed filmmakers Cooper Clark and Sarah Legg (Cherubhead, Honeymoon), and WA Screen Culture Award-winning actor, Lauren Campbell.
It’s not all short films though. The festival will celebrate a selection of feature films, including the world premiere of Hassibullah Kushkaki’s, I Hope This Will Fix Me, a followup to the director’s action-thriller Rampage Electra which premiered at last year’s festival. I Hope This Will Fix Me is written by Kushkaki and Claire Wesley who also leads the film’s cast which includes Mikayla Levy, Amy Jaulin, Jago Fields, Hermoine Art and Kyrah Victorien. I Hope This Will Fix Me is a youthful tale about 19-year-old Anise (Wesley) who wears her heart on her sleeve. Turbulence in her childhood home leaves her conflicted between trying to achieve her lifelong dream or nurturing her family’s kindred spirits.
Other feature films to screen at the festival includes Radio Man, a sci-fi romance about a man who acquires a unique skill of being able to transmit all types of radio waves in his mind, and the WA premiere of High Strangeness, a wild, whacky and truly out-there paranoia thriller unlike anything you’re likely to have ever seen. Returning to their isolated family property in the WA Wheatbelt, two sisters, Abigail and Cathy are immersed into a world of paranoia and malevolent forces. Abigail, plagued by buried memories of alien abduction, slips deeper into psychosis fueled by drugs, alcohol, and the influence of her psychotic conspiracy theorist neighbour Mason. Are Abigail’s demented visions delusions or a prophecy of Armageddon? You’ll have to see it to find out.
Rounding out the features is Dylan Randall and Jules Burton’s Sweet Rhythm, an impressive feature filmmaking debut from both directors which is also Western Australia’s first ever musical feature film. Sweet Rhythm is a 1977 Rock N’ Roll, Jazz and Disco original motion picture musical that follows Jennifer, Dani and Stephanie as they experience the thrills of being in their 20s. Jennifer, a young Jazz enthusiast, is struggling to embrace her love for music while trying to win her mothers approval when she meets the rebellious hippie Stephanie, and the Rock’n’Roll musician Dani, who flip her world inside out and take her on a disco groovin’, rockin’ rollin’ and jazz swinging adventure across the 70s to save the family diner.
Acclaimed actor Myles Pollard (Drift, Wolverine) returns to the WA Made Film Festival by popular demand with a brand new workshop called Myles Pollard: Acting & Directing Actors. Myles has created an acting ‘system’ that helps students manage nerves, stay in the moment, actively listen, observe, be playful, embrace performance risk and create strong scene objectives. He will also delve into directors working with actors such ason-set protocols, hierarchies, conventions, challenges and solutions.
Highly-regarded filmmakers Jess Parker and David Vincent Smith will host their first workshop during the festival. He Ain’t Heavy: How a Short Film Became a Feature will dive into the filmmakers’ journey turning their short film I’m Not Hurting You into He Ain’t Heavy – a fully financed feature film shot in Perth with international stars. This unmissable masterclass will explore screenwriting, directing, producing, securing funding, and navigating the highs and lows of low-budget filmmaking.
The WA Made Film Festival will also present a free workshop in partnership with Cinemachine called The Nuts & Bolts of Filmmaking. Cinemachine co-owner Michael Elsegood will share his incredible technical knowledge from over 15 years of running a rental house and giving support to a range of feature film productions.
The WA Made Film Festival will run across ten 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 Gage Roads, gourmet grazing boxes by Palace Cinemas, and wine provided by Forester Estate.
The WA Made Film Festival is proudly supported by the City of Perth. Sponsors of the WA Made Film Festival include Buy West Eat Best, Quay Perth, Gage Roads, Forester Estate, Sandbox, Soundbyte, Fremantle Herald and Perth Voice Newspapers, Film Industry Gateway, Palace Cinemas, South Beach Boardies, The Globe, RAC Arena, Sealink, Raine Square, Cinemachine and Hunt and Brew, and is co-presented by Cinema Australia.
WA MADE FILM FESTIVAL | February 23 – March 3, 2024
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