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  • Writer's pictureMade in the West Film Festival

2017 Film Festival WINNERS Announced!

Still Searchin’ Productions would like to congratulate everyone who entered their films in this year’s event and particularly, the 18 finalists whose films were screened – you each contributed to a fabulous evening and we applaud you for making such engaging and heartfelt films!

We had a BRILLIANT time last night – 2017 was definitely our best festival yet, with records broken all round. We received 53 submissions this year from filmmakers across Western Sydney and the quality and variety of content has been the best we’ve ever seen. Our 270 enthusiastic attendees helped us reach (and maybe even breach!) capacity, and our social media presence was off the hook as our awesome community showed us some Westie #love.

Thank you to everyone who attended the festival – the energy that you brought to the event made the night truly exciting for our finalists. And the team at SSP loved every minute of it!

Made in the West is dedicated to supporting emerging filmmakers in Western Sydney. We love seeing the great films being made here each year and we surely love recognising Western Sydney on the big screen.

And that’s why we don’t have any rules about what kind of films you can enter into the festival – we welcome any genre – we just want you to tell great stories that audiences will enjoy!

In 2017, Made in the West Film Festival screened short films of diverse genres including drama, thriller, documentary, mockumentary and comedy.

For the first time ever, we recognised three young filmmakers with a SPIRIT OF THE WEST award. Three very deserving young filmmakers from Western Sydney – Bella Merlino, Nicholas Zakrajcek and Jasper Musgrave – all submitted a film this year worthy of an honourable mention. Their passion for telling stories that matter is to be commended and we encourage them to keep making films – we think they’ll be definite contenders for the Best in the West trophy in the years to come!

Also, for the first time this year, we screened a showcase reel of the semi-finalist films – those that narrowly missed out on the finals. There were 16 highly commended films this year and they truly made us wish we could host a 6-hour long festival so we could screen them all too.

But the judges had to make their decision and ultimately, their word is final. They all told us how challenging it was to select the winners this year and that each of the films impressed them in different ways. We take our hats off to them for being able to assess the films and select our winners – we certainly couldn't have done it!

Each film was nominated for at least one individual category award based on the judges’ recommendations. These awards were announced throughout the festival last night.

Here are this year’s winners:

BEST ACTOR – Jerome Velinsky for Where Is Damien Stafford?

Winner of an Actor’s Headshot Profile Package courtesy of Irierootsini Photography

BEST ACTRESS – Emily Whalen for Panopticon

Winner of an Actor’s Headshot Profile Package courtesy of Irierootsini Photography

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHER – Robert C Morton for Wild Dances

Winner of a camera tripod & reflector kit courtesy of Photo+Shop+Studio

BEST DIRECTOR – Liam Campbell for Bring It

Winner of one day TV Studio Hire courtesy of Sydney Prop Specialists

BEST EDITOR – David Hoey for A Year Without Play

Winner of three days Suite Hire courtesy of Information + Cultural Exchange (I.C.E.)

BEST SOUND DESIGN – Jake Kennedy for Navigate

Winner of an audio recording device and headset courtesy of Still Searchin’ Productions

All finalists were also in the running for major trophies and prizes, thanks in part to our wonderful sponsors StillSearchin’ Productions, MediaHub Australia, Prolive Productions, Digital Logic, Green Key Studio, Photo+Shop+Studio, Amazing People Productions, Creative+Business and Golden Age Cinema.

Of course, the room erupted with cheers as the final winners were announced. We want to give a HUGE shout out to:

2017 Runner-up Best in the West:

Window by Vonne Patiag (VIP Films)

Nominated for Best Director, Best Cinematographer, Best Actor & Best Sound Design

2017 Runner-up Best Student Film:

A Year Without Play by David Hoey

Nominated for Best Sound Design, Best Director, Best Cinematographer, Best Editor (WINNER) & Best Actor

And rapturous applause for our 2017 WINNERS:

2017 Best in the West WINNER:

Curated Illusions by Rachael Belle Myers (Jaded Belle Productions)

Nominated for Best Director, Best Cinematographer, Best Sound Design, Best Actress, Best Editor & Best Actor

2017 Best Student Film WINNER:

Bring It by Liam Campbell

Nominated for Best Director (WINNER), Best Sound Design, Best Editor, Best Cinematographer

We had so many attendees commenting on the quality of films in the line-up and tensions were high as the final votes were being counted for the highly coveted Audience Choice Award. But in the end, there could only be one…

Congratulations to:

2017 Audience Choice Award WINNER:

Wild Dances by Bina Bhattacharya

Nominated for Best Director, Best Editor, Best Cinematographer (WINNER) & Best Actress

*cue applause*

Congratulations again to all involved in the making of this year’s finalist films and thank you to everyone who chose to join us last night – we had a blast and we hope you enjoyed your night too.

We'll see you next year at Made in the West 2018!

With love,

The SSP Team

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