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  • Writer's pictureMade in the West Film Festival

Meet your festival hosts!

The excitement is certainly building here in the Still Searchin' camp as festival night is approaching!

Can you believe it? We’re celebrating ten years of Made in the West Film Festival!

Made in the West 2021 kicks off this Saturday 4 December at 6.30pm with local filmmakers on the red carpet, an EPIC marathon screening featuring 21 short films on the big screen, and the biggest gala awards night OF THE DECADE for local artists in Western Sydney.

For those of you who can’t join us at the cinema -- we’ve got you covered! Tune in next weekend as we’re bringing the red carpet to you via Made in the West Online Film Festival – you can access all 21 festival films, plus highlights and interviews with filmmakers on the red carpet, all from the comfort of your own home! Tickets are only $9 each (or $15 for households).

Of course, we’ve enlisted the help of some great artists to help us put on the show this year! They’ll be on stage introducing our finalist films, on the red carpet interviewing filmmakers, hosting our Online Festival, and presenting the 2021 awards and trophies.

We’re thrilled to have these four talented and charismatic hosts on the microphone this year to get you in the mood for celebration. It’s time to meet your hosts!


Jess is a documentary filmmaker that loves chasing a story. She is your MC for the cinema screening this year and we reckon you’re in good hands! Last year she did a fabulous job as our Online Film Festival host, and this year she is excited to step into the spotlight once again to help us celebrate Western Sydney talent on the big screen.

In 2019, Jess was a finalist in Made in the West with her documentary film called Into The Rabbit Hole - she was even nominated for Best Director! Jess is a recent Creative Industries, Journalism and Media Arts Production graduate from Western Sydney University and when she’s not hosting gala awards nights, she loves travelling and filmmaking. She went to China recently to make a micro-documentary for the People’s Daily Online, and has previously travelled to Nepal to make a documentary following nursing and midwifery students through the back streets of Pokhara. We’re so pleased she’s our MC at the festival this year! You can connect with Jess on Instagram here.


Sunil is a writer, performer, radio broadcaster, academic and storyteller. As proud of his Indian heritage as he is of his Westie origins, Sunil has hosted Made in the West TV since 2018 and this year you will see him hosting our Online Festival. His writing has been published in The Sydney Morning Herald, The Australian, The Monthly, Guardian Australia and Good Weekend, as well as in Meanjin, Southerly, Island, Seizure, Best Australian Stories and Best Australian Essays.

Sunil has had more strange and varied jobs than he’s had haircuts, from being a trainee circus clown in England to a sous chef in a pub at the foot of a mountain on the Isle of Man, a financial planner in the CBD to managing a Kings Cross adult shop.We’re so pleased Sunil could join us this year as our Online Festival host! You can find out more about his work here.


Dr Holly is a social change advocate whose mission is to create and implement ideas for change for a more sustainable world. She will be working her magic on the mic once this year as our red carpet host, interviewing filmmakers for our festival highlights and Online Festival presentation. We're so glad she can join us again this year!

Dr Holly is an engaging and inspiring speaker who draws on humour to break down barriers for change. She is a dedicated social change expert, commentator and media-maker who is passionate about environmental and humanitarian issues. She specialises in strategizing and communicating for social change and action and has over a decade of experience in media, commentating, lecturing and research in areas such as climate change, overconsumption and every-day life activism. You can follow Dr Holly on Facebook here.


Ross is a podcaster, filmmaker, actor and singer, and the lead creative at Still Searchin' Productions, the team that plans and produces Made in the West each year. He’ll be getting you cheering for the winners of this year’s awards and trophies as he announces our 9 individual category awards and 4 major prizes throughout the night.

Ross founded Made in the West a decade ago and has always been passionate about encouraging local filmmakers to screen their work in front of a live audience. Ten years later, he’s bringing Western Sydney films to a wider audience than ever before, with online screenings, TV shows, interviews and spin-off projects. Ross is the host of The Pagey Train podcast where he interviews local creatives including actors, musicians, filmmakers and entrepreneurs. You can check out the podcast episodes here.

Please join us in thanking our 2021 festival hosts!

We're so pleased they can be with us to help make it a great night.

And it IS going to be a great night -- partly because we know Western Sydney filmmakers have given us an awesome line-up of films for you to enjoy -- and also because we know we have an AWESOME team of contributors and creatives who are willing to throw their support behind our thriving filmmaker community.

Are you wondering what to expect at the festival this year? Maybe you have questions about our plans for preparing to host a Covid-safe festival? Thinking about prizes and awards? There’s lots of info over on our news blog!


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