Top honours: These Final Hours, an apocalyptic road movie. Photo: Supplied
Garry Maddox, The Sydney Morning Herald, reports
So why are so many good films coming out of Western Australia?
These Final Hours, the apocalyptic road movie that won the critics prize at the Melbourne International Film Festival this month, has joined a strong list that includes Red Dog, Mad Bastards, Drift, Wasted on the Young and Satellite Boy.
Yet to be released from the state are Julius Avery's drama Son of a Gun, starring Ewan McGregor, John V. Soto's thriller The Reckoning, the Tim Winton adaptation The Turning - six chapters were filmed in WA - Carmelo Musca's thriller Foreshadow and Rachel Ward's World War I telemovie An Accidental Soldier.
And two more promising films are due to start shooting soon - Kriv Stenders' Kill Me Three Times, another thriller starring Abbie Cornish and Simon Pegg, and Robert Connolly's Paper Planes, about a boy who wants to compete in the world paper plane championships.
The west also has what's described as the country's fastest growing ''destination'' film festival, with this week's CinefestOz in Busselton attracting such film identities as David Wenham, Gillian Armstrong, Jack Thompson, Robert Connolly and executives from Screen Australia, Roadshow Films, Hopscotch and Madman Entertainment for screenings and industry workshops.
Perth-based producer Tania Chambers, a former chief executive of both Screen West and Screen NSW, says Western Australia had a long filmmaking slump after producing Fran, Shame, Windrider and Father decades ago, with producers focusing on children's television drama and factual programming.
But a long process of fostering talented directors, state lottery and regional funding, mining industry finance and new sources of private investment have produced results.
''There was a deliberate focus over the last 10 years to try and bring through talent and team people up with experienced executive producers and co-producers,'' she says.
The chairman of CinefestOz, David Barton, says festival attendance has grown from 1800 to an expected 15,000 in six years, with screenings and events expanding from Busselton, a three-hour drive south of Perth, into nearby towns.
As well as the world premiere of Ward's An Accidental Soldier, the program includes Australian films that have only screened at the Sydney or Melbourne film festivals so far, including These Final Hours, The Rocket, Mystery Road, Patrick, Aim High in Creation and the WA chapters of The Turning.