Emma Booth.

Emma Booth (Hounds of Love, Glitch, The Gloaming) has been named an official patron of CinefestOZ, joining other patrons David Wenham, Kelton Pell, Myles Pollard and Barry House.

The WA-born actress has been attending the festival since 2012, and is among the stars of H is for Happiness, the winner of last year’s $100,000 CinefestOZ Film Prize.

“Over the years, the team behind CinefestOZ has become like a family to me and I am in awe of the effort they put into the festival,” said Booth.

“It’s truly a magical experience for everyone who attends. Busselton is my home when I’m in Australia and CinefestOZ has always been one of the highlights of the year.”

CinefestOZ chair Helen Shervington credited Booth as having played an integral part in the growth and success of the festival over the years.

“Emma understands and embodies all that the festival is about and her talent, drive and infectious energy make her a valuable member of our close-knit team, particularly this year as we adapt the festival to online and live offerings,” Shervington said.

As IF reported last week, CinefestOZ will be the first Australian festival to hold live events following the easing of COVID-19 restrictions.

Running from August 25-30, the program will feature at least 40 live events and screenings as well as a selection of online screenings.

For the first time in its history, this year’s festival will also include a Short Film Competition with prizes up for grabs 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.

“2020 has been an interesting year, to say the least, and I think it’s the arts that get us through when the going is tough,” said Booth.

“The past eight months have been so testing and isolating for so many people around the world and that’s why I think we need to double our commitment as Australians to making great art.

“I know that we are all excited to get back to work and create some magical stories. The talent we have in Australia is some of the best in the world and I am looking forward to seeing all the creativity that has been taking place behind the scenes. In my opinion, Australian films and film festivals will come back from this stronger than ever.”

The full program will be announced July 31.

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