Local WA film H is for Happiness has been announced as the highly coveted winner of the CinefestOZ $100,000 Film Prize. The South West festival takes place across Margaret River, Busselton, and Bunbury and is regarded as Australia’s premier destination film festival.
Set in Albany and the Great Southern, the winning film is a classic feel-good story based on the award-winning book My Life as an Alphabet by Barry Jonsberg. The film follows twelve-year-old Candice Phee, a girl determined to spark happiness back into her family after tragedy strikes.
Director John Sheedy and producers Julie Ryan, Tenille Kennedy and Lisa Hoppe were presented with the award by the Hon. David Templeman, Minister for Culture and the Arts, as part of CinefestOZ’s dazzling Gala Night celebrations in Busselton last Sunday.
Decided by a jury of five esteemed members of the film industry, Jury Chair Rachel Ward said, “if we have the power as jurors to change the world to be a better place, then voting for H is for Happiness to win CinefestOZ 2019 is our contribution. As juror Alex Dimitriades added, H is also for Hope.”
The CinefestOZ Film Prize is awarded each year to an Australian feature film for excellence in filmmaking. H is for Happiness was selected from fellow finalists GO!, Hearts and Bones, Judy & Punch and Measure for Measure.
The Hon Paul Papalia, Minister for Tourism, said the State Government was proud to sponsor the nation’s richest film prize.
“I would like to congratulate the winner of the CinefestOZ Film Prize and acknowledge all the talented finalists,” he said. “This event is a great showcase of Australian film content and the beautiful South West of WA, which along with Margaret River, was recently named by Lonely Planet as the number one Asian-Pacific Destination to visit.”