CinefestOZ will be the first Australian film festival to host screenings for live cinema audiences after the easing of restrictions following the COVID-19 pandemic.

Running from August 25-30, this year’s edition will feature at least 40 live events and screenings as well as a selection of online screenings.

The full program will be announced on July 31. Festival chair Helen Shervington said the lifting of restrictions in Western Australia meant what was initially planned as an online festival could now allow for physical attendance within health guidelines.

“West Australians have been told to ‘wander out yonder’ and where better to visit than our beautiful South West,” Shervington said. “If you’re looking for film, food and fun, CinefestOZ is the place to be.

“However, we recognise these are challenging times for us all, particularly our interstate friends and industry family who may be bound by the state border closure, so we will be presenting a program for those who can – and can’t – physically attend.

“The festival will use streaming technology to deliver film events to even greater audiences, and we urge those who can’t join us this year to stay connected until we can be together again in person next year.”

As IF reported, for the first time in its 13-year history, CinefestOZ will include a Short Film competition with cash prizes for Best Short Film, Best Indigenous Short Film, Best WA Short Film, Best WA Female Short Filmmakers, Best Lead Actor, Best Director and Audience Choice.

Prizes will be awarded at a special presentation evening on August 29 in the South West of WA and live streamed throughout Australia.

All short films entered into the festival will be considered for the competition. Early bird tickets go on sale on July 17.

Shervington added: “It has been a really tough year for all Australians, especially those in the arts and entertainment industry.

“We urge everyone to show their support to great Australian filmmakers and either jump online or take the trip south and come join us in person.”

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