Locally-made family drama, “H is for Happiness” won the top prize at the CinefestOZ festival in Busselton, West Australia, on Saturday. The film is an uplifting tale about a 12-year-old girl who is inspired by an unusual new boy at her school and sets out to mend her broken family.
Directed by John Sheedy, and filmed in the South Western part of the state where the festival is held, the film claimed the A$100,000 (US$67,000) first prize, which has made CinefestOZ one of the most generous festivals in the world.
The competition jury, headed by actress turned director Rachel Ward, collectively voted in favor of the film, calling it “surprising” and a “tribute to the power of young people.”
Other titles in competition included Mirrah Foulkes’ “Judy & Punch,” Paul Ireland’s “Measure for Measure,” Ben Lawrence’s “Hearts & Bones” and Owen Trevor’s Busselton-set teen film “Go!”.
The only other prize dished out at the closing ceremony was a Screen Legend Award, presented to veteran actor Kelton Pell. He received rousing cheers and appeared genuinely moved. The native Australian has a lengthy career on film and TV, spanning lead roles and bit parts. His credits include “Blackfellas,” “Stoned Bros,” and “Bran Nue Dae.”