‘Seriously Red’, ‘Transfusion’, ‘Sweet As’, ‘Of An Age’ to contend CinefestOZ Film Prize

Stills from (top row) 'Sweet As', 'Of An Age' (bottom row) 'Seriously Red' and 'Transfusion'.

CinefestOZ has unveiled the four finalists for this year’s film competition, with Gracie Otto’s Seriously Red, Matt Nable’s Transfusion, Jub Clerc’s Sweet As, and Goran Stolevski’s Of An Age to compete for the $100,000 prize.

Each of the films will have their WA premieres at next month’s festival, where they will be judged by a jury of industry guests for the award, designed to recognise excellence in Australian filmmaking.

CinefestOZ Chair Margaret Buswell said the calibre of this year’s finalists showed the industry was still bringing inspirational and entertaining stories to life, despite a challenging couple of years.

“I know CinefestOZ audiences will be captivated by these films, which cover the full spectrum of storytelling from comedy, romance, and self-discovery to gritty drama, ahead of the winner’s announcement at the Gala Night on August 27,” she said.

Bringing the comedy to this year’s field is Seriously Red, which stars Krew Boylan also stars Red, a vivacious but occasionally misguided redhead who trades her job in real estate for a new career as a Dolly Parton impersonator.

Boylan, who also penned the script, is joined in the cast by Rose Byrne, Bobby Cannavale, and Daniel Webber, while there is music from Parton, Kenny Rogers, Neil Diamond, and David Bowie. Jessica Carrera produces for Dollhouse, alongside Robyn Kershaw for Robyn Kershaw Productions, Sonia Borella, and Timothy White. The film had its world premiere at this year’s SXSW Festival, before screening at the Sydney Film Festival.

Coming fresh from its world premiere at this year’s Melbourne International Film Festival (MIFF) will be Of An Age, a MIFF Premiere Fund-supported coming-of-age drama that depicts the brief, but lingering, romance between two young men – played by Elias Anton (Barracuda) and Thom Green (Dance Academy) – over the course of one sweltering Melbourne summer day in 1999. Produced by Causeway Films’ Kristina Ceyton and Samantha Jennings, Of An Age is Stolevski’s follow up to the critically lauded You Won’t Be Alone.

Also from the MIFF Premiere Fund is Jub Clerc’s directorial debut Sweet As, which is partly based on her own experience growing up in the Pilbara and The Kimberley. The film stars Shantae Barnes-Cowan as 16-year-old Indigenous girl Murra who, after a volatile fight with her mother, embarks on a journey of self-discovery with some assistance from her uncle. The cast also includes Tasma Walton, Mark Coles Smith and Ngaire Pigram. Clerc wrote the script with Steve Rodgers, with Liz Kearney as producer.

Clerc is one of two first-time directors up for this year’s prize, alongside Nable, who makes his debut with Stan Original film, Transfusion.

The Sydney-shot thriller stars Sam Worthington as Ryan Logan, a former Special Forces operative who is battling to cope with life after the loss of his wife (Phoebe Tonkin) and is thrust into the criminal underworld to keep his only son from being taken from him.

Nable directs from his own script, playing a character known as Johnny. Also starring is new talent Edward Carmody, who stars as Billy Logan, Ryan’s son. John and Michael Schwarz from Deeper Water Films are the producers.

Each finalist screening for the prize will be accompanied by an ‘In Conversation’ dining experience, where the filmmakers will share with guests how they brought their projects to life over at meal restaurants in the region.

CinefestOZ will be held August 23-28, with the Opening Night and Gala Event to take place at Orana Cinemas in Busselton. Find out more information about the festival here.