• Made in the West Film Festival

Planning a Covid-safe event

SAVE THE DATE : We’ll be online and on big screens from 21 - 28 November 2020!


If you missed our last save the date announcement in March of this year, you’d be forgiven for having other things on your mind. There was only that pesky little global pandemic for us to deal with, get used to, and now learn to overcome!


What a roller coaster ride 2020 has been for all of us. So many challenges that we've had to adjust our lives to live with. There’s nothing like stay-at-home orders to make you think about our work and how we live and create our art. Many of us have struggled this year while others, in some ways, have benefited from this new perspective.


We have been heartened by the work we’ve seen coming out of Western Sydney during Covid, and all the ways that Western Sydney filmmakers are speaking up to help others, like Rah Sharma giving advice on how to stay motivated during lockdown, Wayne Tunks showing us how to spotlight cast & crew, Daryl Bondad giving us tips on how to cope with Covid, and Dave Hoey keeping us entertained with cowboy riffs and quarantine pop songs all the way through. In these challenging times, emerging artists from Western Sydney have shown their resilience and determination, working with the ‘new normal’ and producing great work despite the new challenges.

We were so inspired we even made a series ourselves! Made in the West REWIND features previous winners and finalists from the festival and is hosted by The Pagey Train.


Without a doubt, Covid has been a huge disruption to our projects and plans for this year and we know that’s the case for many of you too. This is why we’ve extended EARLYBIRD submissions for another month! (new deadline: 31 August)


2020 has had so many twists and turns and we don’t doubt there will be more ahead.


We've still got a couple of months to watch what happens here in NSW and decide on the format for this year's festival that has the perfect mix of digital and cinema screens, live and live-streamed red carpet interviews, and in-person and on-screen party time.


For some of us, we can’t even imagine going out to the cinema just yet! So for the first time ever, the team here at SSP is planning a new online experience, with festival films and red carpet action that’ll throw you in deep with the Western Sydney stars of the red carpet. We’ll announce more as we get closer to the date but you should prepare yourself for a Made in the West experience that is like no other before!


For others of us, we can’t wait to be able to go to the cinema again! Maybe you’ve already been? We love our huge Vmax cinema at Event Cinemas Liverpool and while the capacity right now with social distancing in place is still quite ample, we’re figuring out a way to give you more space than ever before to enjoy all our festival films live in-house. And here we were thinking that our huge leather armchairs were ALREADY such luxury!! Now you’ll be practically swimming in personal space with double the distance between you and the person next to you so you can stretch out and enjoy the show safely.


Unfortunately, that will likely mean that this year’s live event is more exclusive than ever before. We don’t mind keeping it small, we just want to promote local films.


All filmmakers who submit a film this year will get preferential tickets for cast & crew to join us on the red carpet.


Of course there will be other safety measures too, like digital check in and allocated seating, plus extra cleaning staff and plenty of hand sanitiser. Right now, we’re working closely with the team at Event Cinemas to design a Covid-safe event for us all to enjoy.


And if everything goes to Covid-hell between now and then, so suddenly we’re in lock-down again, we’ll always have the digital festival celebration. No matter what, at the end of November this year we’ll be promoting local artists and announcing the 2020 awards to an audience of our peers as we showcase the awesome work and resilience of Western Sydney filmmakers.


Note: In the unlikely event we have to cancel the 2020 festival entirely, both live and digital events, then we will contact all filmmakers personally and transfer your film entry to our gala 10th anniversary festival next year in 2021.


Essentially, we’re hoping for the best, but still planning for the worst.


SAVE THE DATE : Filmmaker awards night and premiere screening 21- 28 November 2020!


The one thing we DO know for sure, is that we’re expecting some great films to be submitted this year. This year's film haul will Include films that were shot over the summer, some that were shot last year, and of course we’re expecting our fair share of films that were made in isolation. As always, every one of them will have been made in the West.


No matter what, the local stars will shine on the red carpet and as we broadcast our live festival event for the first time online this year we’ll make sure Western Sydney filmmakers shine across digital screens too.


We think it’s important now, more than ever before, to support Western Sydney filmmakers and highlight our achievements in what has been an incredibly challenging year. So, if you haven’t already, get those cameras rolling!


Could it be your film that takes home the top trophy this year?

We hope so. 


Stay safe everyone.


SSP