Revelation Perth International Film Festival director Richard Sowada.

When FTI was consolidated into Screenwest back in 2017, the annual WA Screen Awards disappeared with it.

However, Revelation Perth International Film Festival director Richard Sowada has sought to bring them back, giving the state’s industry an awards platform for the first time in nearly five years.

Newly dubbed the Western Australian Screen Culture Awards, the event will bookend Revelation in mid-December.

Sowada has somewhat reimagined the honours, with a focus on innovation and achievement. Categories span all screen genres, from shorts, features and docos, through to VR/AR, games, moving image art and installation.

The aim is to recognise the extraordinary growth and current vibracy of the Western Australian industry; Sowada posits that when he started Revelation back in 1997, WA produced a feature film every three years. 

“Over the years, particularly in the last six years or so, it’s exploded,” he tells IF.

“There’s an enormous amount of work coming out, of all types.”

Most importantly, that filmmaking also has a distinct tone, demonstrated in films like Ben Young’s 2016 thiller Hounds of Love, Sowada says.

“You can see a WA film and without knowing anything about it, and go ‘That’s from WA’.”

For Sowada, the awards are a means to get people working across different mediums, who may not typically interact with each other, together in a room. His hope is this will demonstrate convergence, and build industry awareness and connections.

“We can demonstrate a critical mass… that perhaps the industry may not have even known or realised was there.”

The categories are as follows:

  • Innovation in Feature Film
  • Innovation in Documentary/Non Fiction
  • Innovation in Short Film or Animation
  • Innovation in Music Video
  • Innovation in Game Design
  • Innovation in Moving Image and Installation Art
  • Innovation in Virtual Reality, 360° and Augmented Reality
  • Innovation in Webseries or Online Content
  • Outstanding Achievement in Directing 
  • Outstanding Achievement in Cinematography or Visualisation
  • Outstanding Achievement in Writing
  • Outstanding Achievement in Performance (including voice performance)
  • Outstanding Achievement in Production Design
  • Outstanding Achievement in Editing
  • Outstanding Achievement in Sound and Sound Design

There will also be two special awards presented, for outstanding industry contribution and independent spirit.

Sowada has chosen to focus on innovation because he believes there are segments of the industry that can often go unrecognised in other award ceremonies.

“’The best’ in terms of those ceremonies is not necessarily representing innovation. It’s generally representing box office, sales and that sort of thing.

“We’re looking at ideas. And sometimes, the films themselves don’t always work in their entirety. But there are moments and elements in those works that really signpost a different way of thinking. That’s what we’re focussed on: a different approach. We’re focussed on achievement and innovation; the moments of clarity and the moments of ambition.”

Judges for the event are non-WA practitioners. They include Roz Hammond, Amiel Courtin-Wilson, Laura Bellingham, Eddie Martin, Claire McCarthy, Richard Lowenstein, Tyler Hubby, Steven Jones-Evans, George Liddle, Fiona Donovan, Nathan Bazley, Kate Fitzpatrick, Greg Ferris, Frances O’Connor, Denson Baker, Cat Hope, and Darcy Prendergast.

Films selected as finalists will be eligible to screen through Revelation’s streaming portal, and a number will these films will also screen as part of the festival in December.

Submissions for the WA Screen Culture Awards close next week, October 31. Enter here.

The event will be held December 13, the last evening of Revelation, at Luna Cinemas, Leederville WA.

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