W IS for WINNING for this Albany’s FEEL-GOOD flick

Saskia AdystiAlbany Advertiser
H is for Happiness cast and crew at the CinefestOz 2019 Gala Night.
Camera IconH is for Happiness cast and crew at the CinefestOz 2019 Gala Night. Credit: Court McAllister

H is for Happiness has claimed this year’s $100,000 CinefestOZ Film Prize — the richest prize in Australian cinematography.

Shot in Albany and around the Great Southern last year, the feature film made its WA premiere at CinefestOZ in Busselton and claimed the top honour at a gala ceremony on Saturday night.

The feel-good family flick is based on children’s book My Life As An Alphabet by Barry Jonsberg, which tells a heart-warming story of love, family and friendship, following 12-year-old heroine Candice Phee. The story was adapted to the big screen by Australian director John Sheedy.

“This is incredible. It’s such a prestigious prize,” Sheedy said. “The competition was so tough.

“There were five amazing films. To be chosen in such good company is wonderful and to be here at CinefestOZ, it’s amazing.”

Albany resident Andris Markovs, who was at the premiere on Saturday, said he felt honoured to have allowed the cast and crew use his Vancouver Street heritage home as a set.

“(We) joined the sold-out audience members in cheering, hollering and giving stand-up applause at the end of this wonderful movie. We were delighted to be able to contribute,” he said.

The Film Prize winner was decided by a jury of five esteemed film industry members including Marta Dusseldorp, Glenn Gainor, Alex Dimitriades, Ben Young and jury chair Rachel Ward.

“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 the CinefestOZ 2019 is our contribution,” Ms Ward said.

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