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  • Writer's pictureMade in the West Film Festival

2021 Highlights with the Festival Director

What a year! What an end to the first decade of Made in the West!

As the 2021 festival season draws to a close, we chat to the festival director Ross Page about what it means to reach this 10-year milestone, share some of the festival highlights with you, and consider what’s next for Made in the West and the amazing community of filmmakers based here in Western Sydney.

We love seeing Western Sydney filmmakers pushing the envelope year upon year and we’re so proud of the cutting-edge film work being made in the west these days.

“Made in the West was born of rebellion – it started as a way to rattle the cage and attract attention for a part of Sydney that was too often overlooked, but it soon became a celebration, an annual event where we dress to the nines and share our stories on screen,” says Ross.

“One thing has remained throughout – we’ve always wanted to provide a platform for Western Sydney artists to be themselves. Made in the West is a festival where any genre is welcome and local filmmakers can tell the story that they want to tell.”

We’d like to say THANK YOU to Event Cinemas Liverpool for having us back this year and helping us keep Made in the West in the heart of the western suburbs where it rightfully belongs!

We couldn’t be more proud to showcase Western Sydney films on such an amazing three-storey V-max big screen in our private cinema with comfy leather armchairs and the cocktail bar just outside – what more could we ask for?

Made in the West will return in 2022 for our 11th annual festival and we’re already looking forward to seeing what Western Sydney filmmakers shine once again on screen.

Did you miss the festival this year? Want to relive the highlights?

Hats off to our TV crew who spent the night capturing interviews with filmmakers and all the festival highlights – Holly, our wonderful red carpet host and producer, working with Peter and Daniel on camera, Emily as assistant producer and Luke assisting with talent.

Thank you for capturing all the emotion and excitement of Western Sydney film’s biggest night of the year - the highlights video brings back such great memories!

Congratulations, Western Sydney filmmakers!

Once again, we’d like to say thank you to everyone involved in Made in the West 2021 – from the 51 entrants, 21 VIP finalists, 4 major trophy winners, 9 individual award winners and our second annual People’s Choice Award winner -- well done to you all!

To our 9 VIP judges, 4 major sponsors and 11 prize sponsors who donated their services to support our cause - thank you!

A special shout out goes to our volunteers and friends who jumped on board this year to help -- all 25 of them! Thank you to our 2021 crew for making this milestone year our best yet!

And of course the in-cinema audience and all the viewers at home who voted online -- all of you contributed to the success of this year’s event.

We're so lucky, after all the 2021 threw at us, to be able to celebrate 10 festival years with you!

The Western Sydney film community is like no other – they celebrate each other’s wins, they’re not afraid of hard work, they’re super talented (and total slashies!), and they’re certainly not afraid to tell the stories that others shy away from.

You’d better believe us when we say that Western Sydney filmmakers are producing some of the best films in the country right now!

We’ve had a blast hosting Made in the West for the last ten years and we love celebrating Western Sydney filmmakers.

Did you see the surprise video that screened at the festival?

For months, our community was working in secret to produce a very special video tribute to celebrate a decade of Made in the West and it features short messages of gratitude from a whole bunch of filmmakers, judges, friends and festival supporters - check it out below!

Seeing the Western Sydney film community THRIVE is the best reward for ten years of hard work getting Made in the West up and running. Thank you everyone for your kind words!!

We’ve always believed that creative work offers great rewards, and as we move into our next decade we want to make certain that we grow alongside the film industry - expanding to include more screenings, more audiences, and more opportunities for filmmakers to connect and collaborate to strengthen and embolden the Western Sydney film community.

We asked Ross about his favourite moments, looking back.

“My favourite moments at the festival each year are when I get to see the reactions from filmmakers as the audience sees their film for the first time – the mixture of nerves and excitement beforehand, and the immense pride after seeing the positive response,” says Ross.

“I also love seeing the new collaborations that arise between filmmakers – the festival has created this amazing network of filmmakers and it’s so great to see everyone working together.”

Made in the West will be back next year to roll out the red carpet once again and celebrate our 11th festival year in style at Event Cinemas, Liverpool.

You won’t want to miss it!

Submissions are OPEN NOW for the 2022 festival.

We’ll be showcasing the very best short films Western Sydney has to offer, so if you have been involved in a project featuring cast, crew, or locations from Western Sydney, then we want to see it!

Head to our entry form for more information. It’s time to get started on your next project, Western Sydney creatives!

“Your postcode does not dictate whether you are a good storyteller!” says Ross.

“Just get started, and remember, there are plenty of potential collaborators in Western Sydney that can help - just face up to your imposter monster and put yourself out there.”

We’ll be getting the local film community together next year to network and connect at our WSF ONE Networking Events – the first one is coming up in March!

Sign up to our newsletter to stay in the loop (click on the pink banner on our website!) or follow us on FB, Insta or Twitter.

Remember! You can fly the festival flag, buy carbon neutral made-to-order festival merch AND support the festival by purchasing something at our online shop – it's a win-win-win situation!

Imagine rocking a Made in the West backpack! How about a new apron? Fancy some festive couch pillows? We love our new mouse pads! There’s so much to choose from.

Have you seen our 10th anniversary magazine? Read all about the history of Made in the West and a decade of festivals and red carpet action with all the best pics, stories, winners and festival highlights – order your copy now!

Special thanks to the team at Burrow and the student design team that collaborated on the magazine with us.

Subscribe to The Pagey Train podcast for filmmaker interviews with the 2021 finalists throughout next year and the occasional sneak peek at exciting festival news ahead of our announcements – available on YouTube, Spotify, IHeartRadio and wherever else you get your podcasts.

We’ll see you next year!


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