Kelton Pell honoured as CinefestOZ Screen Legend

Kelton Pell (Photo credit: Daniel James Grant, Black Swan State Theatre Company).

Actor Kelton Pell is the first Western Australian to receive the Screen Legend accolade from CinefestOZ in the event’s 12-year history.

In a career spanning more than 25 years, his film credits include Blackfellas, Australian Rules, September, Bran Nue Dae, Mad Bastards, Looking For Grace, Red Dog:True Blue and Three Summers.

In his latest screen role he appeared alongside Bill Nighy, Victoria Hill and Milan Burch in director Tim Brown’s Buckley’s Chance, which was partly shot in WA.

Nighy played Spencer, the estranged grandfather of Burch’s Ridley, who moved to WA with his mother Gloria (Hill) after his father dies. Spencer tries to reconnect with the boy but he gets lost the outback.

Pell has been a familiar face in such TV shows as Pine Gap, The Gods of Wheat Street, The Circuit, Redfern Now and The Heights.

“It’s a huge honour,” he says of the award. “I really have to pay respect to the two people who inspired me to be who I am today, T.E Lewis (deceased) and David Gulpilil.

“If it wasn’t for them, I don’t think I would have been an actor. They were the first two Aboriginal people I saw on the screen and it made me so proud to see black faces portraying our people.”

In 2017 he became IndigifestOZ Koorda, or friend, recognising the leadership he has provided CinefestOZ, particularly the Indigenous film program IndigifestOZ which showcases the unique voices of Indigenous filmmakers as well as highlighting films with Indigenous themes.

The award will be presented at the CinefestOZ film festival gala night on August 31. The past recipients are Sigrid Thornton, Hugo Weaving, Joel Edgerton, Jack Thompson, Bryan Brown, David Wenham, Jacqueline McKenzie, Fred Schepisi, Bruce Beresford, Gillian Armstrong and Scott Hicks.

CinefestOZ runs from August 28 to September 1.