• Made in the West Film Festival

Announcing the 2021 Winners!

What. A. NIGHT!


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 we sure loved every minute of it!


Over 300 people joined us to celebrate a decade of Made in the West Film Festival showcasing Western Sydney on the big screen. We reckon it was our biggest crowd ever! Thank you to everyone for embracing our efforts to host a Covid-safe festival and enjoying the night safely with your cast, crew, family and friends.

We loved seeing you all enjoying the show, chatting about your fave films during intermission and cheering for the winners at the end of the night. Thank you all for helping make the Western Sydney film scene one of the most vibrant and energising creative communities in the country.


This year Made in the West screened 21 locally produced short films that were gutsy, heartfelt, and hilariously entertaining. We say it all the time and we mean it – Western Sydney filmmakers are cutting edge!


How lucky are we to be a part of a community that is so driven by creativity, so unapologetically bold in truth-telling, so fresh on screen? We have to take a moment to thank our lucky stars we are surrounded by such talent.


If you missed the festival this year (or you’d like to relive the highlights!), we’ll be screening all the finalist films ONLINE next weekend at Made in the West Online Film Festival – you’ll have 48 hours to watch the show!

The line-up spans all genres, from thrillers to science fiction, comedy to action, plus there were heaps of music videos, some animation and web series too – a mixed bag – just as we like it!


We also previewed trailers for some new feature films made in Western Sydney including Echo 8 and Public Eye.


Plus we had the honour of premiering the trailer for Here Out West, a groundbreaking feature film with some serious local talent behind it, including several festival alumni.


There was even a surprise compilation of video messages from the past winners, judges and filmmakers in the community, honouring ten years of Made in the West and the work we do to bring it to life every year – it was so wonderful!!


Hats off to our panel of judges for selecting the 2021 winners – we certainly couldn't have done it! Their scores combined determine the winners of our top awards, plus cast & crew were nominated for individual category awards based on the judges’ recommendations – more than ever before!


Here’s the full list of 2021 award winners:


BEST DIRECTOR – Cat Sole for Transition


BEST SCREENPLAY - Alex Dona for A Girl’s Best Friend


BEST CINEMATOGRAPHER – Robert C. Morton for Jane


BEST EDITOR – Therese Chen, Maria Tran and Takashi Hara for Operation Kung Flu


BEST SOUND DESIGN – Gordon Fletcher for Jane


BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN - Jessica Stirnemann for A Girl’s Best Friend


BEST ORIGINAL SCORE - Darren Lim for Operation Kung Flu


BEST LEAD ACTOR – Safia Arain for Towel Head


BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR – Michael Becker for A Girl’s Best Friend


All finalists were also in the running for prizes, thanks to our wonderful sponsors Still Searchin’ Productions, Western Sydney University, Event Cinemas Liverpool, MediaHub Australia, Sydney Prop Studios, Creative Plus Business, Irierootsini Photography, Australian Production Design Guild, Australian Guild of Screen Composers, Information & Cultural Exchange and Fotogenic.


All 21 films were in the running for our major trophies for Best Student Film, Best in the West (for indie filmmakers) and for the first time this year, Best Music Video.


Like gravy on hot chips, we’ve known for ages that filmmakers and local musicians are a partnership made in heaven, so we’re stoked to have finally recognised this link with the inaugural Best Music Video award.


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


2021 Runner-up Best Music Video:

What You See by Bina Bhattacharya

Nominated for Best Director, Cinematographer and Production Design


2021 Runner-up Best Student Film:

The Detection: Vengeance by Luca Pezzutti

Nominated across the board for Best Director, Screenplay, Cinematographer, Editor, Sound Design, Production Design, Original Score, Lead Actor and Supporting Actor


2021 Runner-up Best in the West:

Operation Kung Flu by Maria Tran

Nominated across the board for Best Director, Screenplay, Cinematographer, Editor (WINNER), Sound Design, Production Design, Original Score (WINNER), Lead Actor and Supporting Actor


These amazing films deserve a round of applause!

Of course, you must save your most rapturous standing ovation for our 2021 WINNERS!

The award goes to….


2021 Best Music Video WINNER:

Good as Gold by Ian Escandor

Nominated for Best Director, Cinematographer, Editor and Production Design


2021 Best Student Film WINNER:

Towel Head by Raeanne Chami

Nominated across the board for Best Director, Screenplay, Cinematographer, Editor, Sound Design, Production Design, Original Score, Lead Actor (WINNER) and Supporting Actor


2021 Best in the West WINNER:

Jane by Noel Vinson

Nominated across the board for Best Director, Screenplay, Cinematographer (WINNER), Editor, Sound Design (WINNER), Production Design, Original Score, Lead Actor and Supporting Actor



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:


2021 Audience Choice Award WINNER:

Towel Head by Raeanne Chami

Nominated across the board for Best Director, Screenplay, Cinematographer, Editor, Sound Design, Production Design, Original Score, Lead Actor (WINNER) and Supporting Actor


*cue applause*


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


Our in-cinema event may have wrapped, but now we have one more screening to go!


Join us online next weekend to see all 21 films in the Official Selection ONLINE from Friday 10 December for 48 hours only! RESERVE YOUR TICKET now to watch Made in the West Online Film Festival from home!


We’re bringing the red carpet to folks at home again this year with all the highlights from the red carpet including interviews with the finalists and winners in a HUGE three-hour short film marathon you can watch from the comfort of your own couch.


Want to find out more about how to watch Made in the West ONLINE?


Reserve your ticket and we’ll share the private link with you on Friday at 5pm (AEDT) – you will have until Sunday at 5pm to watch the full show. Tickets are $9 for individuals and $15 for groups or households.


Check out the 2021 Online Festival program on our website for the list of films plus links to all the filmmakers on socials so you can follow their film work and find pics from the red carpet.


Speaking of which, we’ll be sharing all the photos from the red carpet later this week! We love seeing Western Sydney filmmakers strut their stuff on the red carpet and we’re pleased our festival photographers were there to capture the community in all its glory.


Join us online next week for interviews and highlights from the red carpet!