Six finalists for $100,000 film prize

13 July, 2014 by Don Groves

Matt Saville’s Felony, Julius Avery’s Son of a Gun, Robert Connolly’s Paper Planes and John V. Soto’s The Reckoning are among the six finalists for CinéfestOZ’s inaugural $100,000 film prize, Australia’s richest.

The other two are Stephen Lance’s My Mistress and a potential wildcard, The Waler: Australia’s Great War Horse, Russell Vines’ ScreenWest-funded documentary on the 135,000-plus horses sent from Australia to the Middle East in WW1.


There were more than 20 submissions for the prize, which is voted on by a jury of five headed by director Bruce Beresford and will be announced on August 23.

The Waler: Australia’s Great War Horse will have its world premiere at CinéfestOZ while Son of a Gun and The Reckoning will have their Australian premieres. Felony, My Mistress and Paper Planes are premiering at the Melbourne International Film Festival.

“When we introduced this prize we anticipated a strong response but the calibre of films has far exceeded our expectations,” said CinéfestOZ vice chair Helen Shervington.

“These are not just great Australian films; they are worthy of recognition internationally and it is a great honour to present them at our festival. The calibre of films in the running for the prize reflects how significant it is in the Australian film landscape.”

The film prize is designed to encourage excellence in Australian filmmaking, support the film industry and attract new audiences to Australian film.

CineféstOZ is supported by the WA government through Tourism WA’s regional events program, which is funded by Royalties for Regions. Staged in Busselton, Bunbury, Margaret River and surrounding areas, the fest will run from August 20-24.

For more information visit

Finalists for the 2014 CinéfestOZ Film Prize


Director: Matthew Saville – Producer: Rosemary Blight, Joel Edgerton & Michael Benaroya

Synopsis: Three detectives become embroiled in a tense struggle after a tragic accident that leaves a child in critical condition. One is guilty of a crime, one will try to cover it up, and the other attempts to expose it. How far will these men go to disguise and unravel the truth?

My Mistress

Director: Stephen Lance – Producers: Leanne Tonkes and Steve Kearney

Synopsis: What starts as a beautiful and strangely innocent affair between a vulnerable teenage romantic and a French S&M mistress, soon becomes more dangerous in this unconventional love story.

Paper Planes

Director: Robert Connolly – Producers: Robert Connolly, Maggie Miles and Liz Kearney

Synopsis: Paper Planes is an imaginative children’s film about a young Australian boy’s passion for flight and his challenge to compete in the World Paper Plane Championships in Japan.

Son of a Gun

Director: Julius Avery – Producer: Timothy White & Janelle Landers

Synopsis: Locked up, JR finds himself under the protection of Australia’s public enemy number one, Brendan Lynch … but protection comes at a price. Lynch’s crew have plans for their young protégé, and very soon the debt is called in.

The Reckoning

Director: John V. Soto – Producer: Deidre Kitcher

Synopsis: After his partner is murdered, a detective must track down two teenage runaways whose video footage contains the identity of the killer.)

The Waler: Australia’s Great War Horse

Director: Russell Vines – Producer: Marian Bartsch

Synopsis: Over 135,000 war horses left Australia for the Great War. Most were walers, a special kind of horse that can withstand great heat, travel great distances and perform great feats in battle. The walers served their Light Horsemen in the ‘Desert War’ across inhospitable terrain in the Middle East. Where they came from, why they were so successful, where they served, and what became of those that survived? None came home. This is their extraordinary story.