Spotlight unlocked for Perth filmakers

Early last month, the second annual WA Unlocked Film Festival displayed various short films, animations and music videos that were created and produced in Perth.

The event hosted at Johnny Ma Studios shone the light on eight well selected local short films out of the many that were submitted, playing more than 60 music videos before and after the main presentation. WA Unlocked Festival Director Jesse Laurie said the main idea of this event was to highlight the talented filmmakers that reside in the state:

“[We want to] provide a prominent platform for Western Australia’s emerging filmmakers to screen their films for exposure, feedback, and networking opportunities whilst receiving recognition for their commitment,” he said.

The short film nominated for the most awards on the night was We Were Here directed by David Vincent Smith, and produced by Joshua Gilbert and Simon Camp. It stars Alexandra Nell as a young girl who tries to move on with her life after being a witness to an open fight between two men and killing one of them in self-defence. Nominated for eight awards, it was able to grab Best Film and Best Actress awards for Nell, Best Direction for Vincent-Smith, and Best Cinematography for Lewis Potts.

Another short at the festival was Dark Horses, a drama-piece directed by Jessica Lytton and produced by Brad Nisbet. It follows a conversation between an escort and her cab driver on the way to a client. Out of seven nominations, it grabbed the runner-up award for Best Film as well as Best Actor for Jack Scott as Michael, the shut-in cab driver.

One of the biggest highlights of the night was Radheya Jegatheva, a young animator that swept the night away with his short animated piece titled iRony. Based on an award-winning poem he wrote titled Seven Billion, exploring humanity’s desire for social media. Jegatheva won the award for Best Sound Design, Best Editing, and the standout Unlocked Talent award.

Other award winners included Daniel Ampuero and his Priscilla and Mad Max-inspired Production Design in Carnal Privilege, and Best Story went to Iain Appleyard for writing His Father’s Son.

The festival will occur again next year, and it will be bigger than before. Mr Laurie says that it would allow a better and more unique opportunity to shine the spotlight on local filmmakers and their creations:

“I do feel that WA Unlocked is different in regards to the event itself… we have stepped beyond the traditional bounds of how film festivals have been orchestrated to create a more ambient and exciting screening” he said.

“Now that we are officially classified as a not-for-profit body, we have the opportunity to raise a more formidable platform for the local film industry.”

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