Murdoch Made Wins Film Accolade

William Turner and Cameron Whiteford at the WA Made Film Festival 2024

The awards keep coming for Murdoch University's Screen Production team with Media Arts Centre technical officer and Murdoch alumnus Cameron Whiteford claiming the highest honour at the WA Made Film Festival on Friday.

The Whiteford-produced short Esperance to Fremantle won the coveted Best of the Fest prize, presented to the most outstanding film across all categories.  

The top-quality field included the acclaimed I’m Not a Nurse, written and directed by fellow Murdoch alumnus Jessica Bailey and produced by Lecturer Dr Glen Stasiuk, and two films written and directed by recent Murdoch graduate Abby Marshall and produced by current Screen Production student Zoe Davis, The Sound of Static, and The Philosophy of Love – the latter receiving Best Student Film and the Audience Choice award in the Student Showcase. Hold Me Once Before You Go directed and produced by Murdoch Screen Production students Isabella Kerrigan (writer and director) and Tayla Harman (producer) was also featured at the WA Made Film Festival as part of the Student Showcase. 

Esperance to Fremantle was written and directed by lawyer-turned-filmmaker William Sebastian Turner for his thesis at Columbia University in New York. The 18-minute drama was one of five Jury Selects at the 2023 Columbia University Film Festival, had its World Premiere at Dances with Films: NYC, and its Australian Premiere at FlickerFest 2024. 

"Esperance to Fremantle is writer and director William Sebastian Turner’s investigation of human relationships and is a depiction of a young man’s impossible struggle to know the ‘real’ nature of the people important to him. It’s a local story inspired by and showcasing Western Australia,” Whiteford said. 

Still from the Esperance to Fremantle short filmStill from the Esperance to Fremantle short film.

Starring Luke Jai McIntosh and Robert Jackson, it tells the story of wayward teenager Rob, who having not seen his father since he was an infant, searches for him in Fremantle, Western Australia. Tracking his father to a pub, Rob resolves to approach him as if he were a stranger in order to discover who he really is and his reasons for leaving. 

Producing alongside Whiteford were Patrick Nichols and Alexander Turner, with Joe Henderson as Director of Photography.  

Whiteford said that winning the Best of the Fest award was a heart-warming moment for the cast, crew and for him personally. 

As a producer, recognition for the hard work the cast and crew put into making this production a reality is heart-warming. Finding a project that resonates with you and fostering it from inception to completion is so gratifying."Cameron Whiteford

“I’m just ecstatic for everyone involved, especially the cohort of filmmakers who I met while studying my Master of Screen Production at Murdoch University. These are life-long friendships and partnerships that I’ll cherish forever,” he said. 

Still from the Esperance to Fremantle short film.Still from the Esperance to Fremantle short film.

Now in its fifth year, the WA Made Film Festival is Western Australia’s only independently operated film festival exclusively featuring WA made films. 

As WA's biggest celebration of locally made screen content, the festival showcases the strength and diversity of the WA film industry and provides an opportunity for up-and-coming filmmakers to gain valuable exposure. 

Marshall graduated top of her class last year, her two festival films received Gold and Silver at Murdoch’s 2023 student film showcase. 

While Bailey’s I’m Not a Nurse, was nominated for six WA Screen and Culture Awards last year and for Best Short Film at 2023 CineFest Oz international film festival. 

The film was produced by Screen Production Chair Dr Glen Stasiuk, with Cinematography Lecturer Dr Damian Fasolo as Director of Photography, sound and score by Creative Media Lecturer Ben Morton, and editing by Media Team Leader Tim Eng. 

Dr Stasiuk said the achievements demonstrated Murdoch’s commitment to teaching at the highest standards to ensure that when students graduate, they aren’t just ready to enter the professional film and television industry, they are well and truly already in it. 

“Being recognised by outside critics and film festival organisers highlights the quality of work within our program,” he said. 

Dr Stasiuk’s latest film Dandjoo: Be a Voice for Generations recently received its first award win at the Tamizhagam International Film Festival. 

The film is a continuation of his critically acclaimed documentary Survivors of Wadjemup which tells the story of thousands of Aboriginal men and boys imprisoned at Wadjemup, or Rottnest Island, through the eyes of their descendants. 

Dandjoo: Be a Voice for Generations follows the Wadjemup Aboriginal Reference Group as they talk about the island’s history as an Aboriginal prison between 1838 and 1931, and the importance of acknowledgment as an integral part of healing and reconciliation. 

Interested in film making? Learn more Screen Production.
Posted on:

26 Feb 2024

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