The second edition of CinefestOZ Albany will bring a new Indigenous-culture-focused film night and two of the Great Southern’s brightest lights as ambassadors. From April 28 to May 1, Albany will be a hive of film-related activity, with 18 feature films and 10 short films airing across the festival. After the success of last year’s inaugural festival, it has been expanded to run across four days. In 2021, the event was attended by Hollywood actor Kate Walsh. This year, the star power will be brought by ambassadors Karla Hart and Joel Jackson. Hart is an acclaimed filmmaker and proud Noongar woman, raised on Goreng country in the Great Southern, and was 2021’s Aboriginal West Australian of the Year. Her film Tooly will screen on the festival’s closing night at the Albany Entertainment Centre, and she will appear at the In Conversation lunch at Monty’s Leap on April 30. Albany-born Joel Jackson features in the film I Met a Girl, making its Australian festival red-carpet premiere on April 29 at Orana Cinemas. Jackson can currently be seen on TV screens in Miss Fisher’s Modern Murder Mysteries, and previously appeared in CinefestOZ film prize winner H is For Happiness, CinefestOZ film prize finalist Jungle and the TV series Mystery Road and Peter Allen: Not The Boy Next Door. “That Albany is my hometown makes this festival even better and to be an ambassador is a humble honour that I hope to carry for many years to come,” Jackson said. “For Albany to be opening their city to the expansive energy of CinefestOZ and supporting the festival in so many capacities will ensure the next generation of WA storytellers are inspired into action and heralds a celebration of Aussie storytelling in the heart of one of Australia’s most historical locations.” CinefestOz chair Margaret Buswell said she was “proud to officially welcome” Jackson and Hart as ambassadors for the festival. This year’s festival will feature the Kinjarling Koort event which will celebrate the local Menang Indigenous community and local filmmakers. The event’s Noongar elements have been designed in partnership with Albany’s Kurrah Mia, with the title meaning “Albany heart”. It will take place at the Albany Town Hall and Town Square on April 30. Hart’s film Tooly will be showcased at the event, along with a Robert Castiglione film set, a performance from the Albany Shantymen and cultural activities. The Albany-set film Edward and Isabella will also screen at the event. Albany author and director of the film Adam Morris said it was “tremendous honour” for his locally made film to be presented as part of the festival and at the Kinjarling Koort event. The film has already been awarded Best Film at the WA Screen Awards, as well as several awards at international film festivals in Europe and Japan. Edward and Isabella is a character-driven story focusing on a couple who take a trip to Albany where they will make the decision on if they will stay together or break up. “It showcases the dynamic and differing landscapes of Albany, while exploring the intricacies of a tender relationship between two people,” Mr Morris said. “Edward and Isabella was made entirely in Albany by a local production company, local crew and local post production.” For more details on CinefestOZ Albany, visit cinefestoz.com.