Welcome to Western Sydney Business Access

 fb tw yt in 

The SSP crew photo: Jonathan Chapman, Misty McPhail, Ross Page, Nathalie Jerez. Photo by Daniel Thornton The SSP crew photo: Jonathan Chapman, Misty McPhail, Ross Page, Nathalie Jerez. Photo by Daniel Thornton Featured


Record attendance for local talent
THE recent sixth annual Made in the West Film Festival showcased a stellar line-up of locally produced films to a huge crowd of attendees.

The winners of the 2017 Best in the West and Best Student Film awards, as decided by an independent panel of judges, and the highly coveted Audience Choice Award, as voted by the audience on the night were announced on the night.

The winners of this year’s top trophies, Rachael Belle Myers (Wiley Park) for her film Curated Illusions and Liam Campbell (Minchinbury) for his student film documentary Bring It, walked the red carpet on Saturday, November 25 to accept their trophies amid rapturous applause from the 270-strong audience, comprised mostly of Western Sydney filmmakers and film enthusiasts, along with friends and family of this year’s 18 film finalists.

All films were judged by a panel of seven industry professionals and the winners were awarded over $12,000 in prizes for outstanding individual achievement in Directing, Cinematography, Editing, Sound Design and Acting, plus overall achievement in three major trophy categories.

All prizes were sponsored by local business organisations including Green Key Studio, Digital Logic, Prolive Productions, Irierootsini Photography, Information & Cultural Exchange (I.C.E) and Still Searchin’ Productions.

Artistic director Ross Page said Made in the West has exploded in recent years in a variety of ways, from the size of the audience to the number of entrants and notably, in the quality of the content.

“2017 was an incredibly successful year with 53 films entered by independent and student filmmakers across the Western Sydney region, and more than ever before, Western Sydney filmmakers are making stories they’re passionate about, wearing their Westie status as a badge of honour rather than something they want to hide, and it’s just amazing that you can see that shine through in their content,” Ross said.

The highly coveted Audience Choice Award went to Bina Bhattacharya (Campbelltown) for her uplifting film Wild Dances, an obvious audience favourite, with two-time previous award winner Vonne Patiag (Minchinbury) narrowly missing out on the top trophy this year, instead awarded runner-up Best in the West for his short film Window alongside David Hoey (Kellyville) as runner-up Best Student Film for A Year Without Play.

Sixteen semi-finalist films were showcased throughout the night and three younger producers were recognised with the inaugural Spirit of the West award, given to Bella Merlino (Greenacre), Jasper Musgrave (Dundas) and Nicholas Zakrajcek (Orchard Hills).

Proud to be a film festival that supports the local film industry, Made in the West brings the glamour of an industry awards night to Western Sydney filmmakers, with red carpet interviews, cast and crew photographs, networking opportunities and plenty of industry talk.

The festival has come a long way since its first event in 2012 held as an impromptu screening night for a group of Western Sydney University film students.

“As a film producer myself, I know that having an opportunity to screen your work in front of a live audience is such an amazing feeling and a fundamental part of the creative process, so we just thought why not provide the platform for Western Sydney filmmakers to get noticed and attract some attention, especially for something that is so challenging to do and so inspiring to young people,” said Ross.

Ross is a creative producer at Still Searchin’ Productions, a film group based in Penrith whose small team of five contributors donate their time to help plan, promote and host Made in the West Film Festival each year and they have worked hard to build an audience for local films and showcase the work of local artists. 

“We’ve managed to get the audience and we’ve certainly got great films, so all we need now is the perfect Western Sydney venue to host the event for an even bigger city-wide audience,” he said.

The film festival looks to return to its Western Sydney heartland in 2018. Local organisations are encouraged to reach out via: 


to support the local film scene and the important stories being told by this diverse community of filmmakers in Western Sydney.



Michael Walls
0407 783 413

More in this category: « BEST POLITICAL CARTOONS

Access News is a print and digital media publisher established over 15 years and based in Western Sydney, Australia. Our newspaper titles include the flagship publication, Western Sydney Express, which is a trusted source of information and for hundreds of thousands of decision makers, businesspeople and residents looking for insights into the people, projects, opportunities and networks that shape Australia's fastest growing region - Greater Western Sydney.