Synonymous with good food, even better wine, and crystal clear white sand beaches, Busselton, just south of the Margaret River is a natural hub for artists, musicians, film-makers and writers, and every year plays host to one of the largest jewels in Australia's cultural crown.
The annual CinefestOZ Film Festival calls Bunbury, Busselton and Margaret River home from August 23-28, and this year promises to be the most tantalising program yet. 2022 sees Australia’s largest and most anticipated destination film festival celebrate its 15th birthday milestone with a program well-worthy of such a milestone age. This year four films will be competing for the prestigious CinefestOZ Film Prize of $100,000, the richest annual prize awarded to an Australian film project, alongside a plethora of short films duking it out for the number one spot in the flourishing Short Films section.
The popular IndigifestOZ program is back to amplifying the incredible talent of our Indigenous filmmakers, bringing together the local communities to celebrate and engage with the important work created by Indigenous filmmakers during a series of free community event days. The Cinesnaps schools’ program, is also back, as are the free Community Screenings this year centred on the theme ‘Dig Deep’, as well as the Film Industry Program.
The full program will showcase an extraordinary range of Australian stories including feature films, documentaries, shorts and experiential films. Highly regarded filmmakers and acting talent from across the country will flock to the region, creating a melting pot of cinematic knowledge. Unique dining, community and industry events in Dunsborough, Augusta, Bunbury, Busselton and Margaret River will anchor the festival in the equally inspiring region it calls home.
If you’ve never experienced the brilliance of this cultural and culinary celebration or you’re itching to get back, Jetstar has made it even easier to add it to your annual to-do list, with direct flights from Melbourne to the Margaret River region. No matter where you're flying from, gear up for one of Australia's most beautiful road trips as you make the pilgrimage from Perth along some of WA's best coastline down to the Margaret River region.
Combine The Best Of The Fest With The Best Of The Region
Perfectly combining the artistry of the four main contenders, the festival's In Conversation program has paired each film with a quintessential local food and wine experience. During this unique program, you can expect robust conversation where the filmmakers share with guests how they brought their projects to life and enjoy sensational food at some of the South West’s best venues.
Join the filmmakers and attending cast of finalist Seriously Red, a deep dive into a realtor’s career change as a Dolly Parton impersonator, in conversation at the renowned Rustico at Hayshed Hill. The event includes a long-table lunch featuring gourmet, seasonal produce and regional sips.
If unexpected romance in the warmth of a 1999 Melbourne summer speaks to you, don’t miss out on the Of An Age event. Championing diverse stories from industry professionals, the event will be accompanied by an exquisite lunch surrounded by the vineyards at Cullen Wines in the heart of Wilyabrup.
Finalist thriller, Transfusion, might have you on the edge of your seat awaiting the fate of Sam Worthington’s undercover character, but the In Conversation event with the creative at Shelter Brewing Co.situated on the Busselton Foreshore is sure to calm your nerves again.
The final contender for the top prize, Sweet As, draws on The Breakfast Club nostalgia, but the In Conversation event at Yarri Bar and Restaurant will treat you to an afternoon feast of savoury flavours synonymous with the South West region.
Things To Do In Busselton And Margaret River
We wouldn’t send you to one of the most cultural, culinary and scenically impressive parts of the country without making sure your to-list is stacked. Read on for some top tips on how to spend your time between films.
Fill Your Basket With The Best
Make the most of your Saturday mornings and head down to the Margaret River Farmers Market to get your fill of fresh produce and wares. Earning the title of Australia’s best farmers' markets, make sure you come prepared to shop and dressed to wander because there’s plenty to see and even more to eat. If you're in Busselton check out, Origins Market for all of the best and most quintessential WA goodies you can dream of.
Get Your Body Moving
If sitting still to absorb cinematic mastery has you feeling the need to get the blood flowing, there is a heap of opportunities to get sweaty in the South West. In a town full of yogis there are all sorts of classes for yoga bunnies and fitness junkies to flex their muscles on holiday. Top picks include reformer pilates at The Studio Down South or a slow flow class at Swell.
If you’re more of an outdoorsy type, there are so many options for walking, surfing and horse riding that it’s hard to narrow it down to our top reccos. To name a few, though, take a stroll through Boranup Forest, hike some of the Cape to Cape Track to nab some of the region’s serenity or try your hand at the adventurous coasteering experience with Margaret River Adventure Company. If something a little calmer, without sacrificing the great outdoors is more your speed, jump in a canoe and paddle your way through pristine surrounds.
Indulge In The Regions Best Flavours
Combine your love for food and wine at Cullen Wines, one of Western Australia’s hundreds of cellar doors, breweries and restaurants to discover at your own pace or on a guided tour. Get Hooked Up with exceptional fish and chips, and smack your Squid Lips in satisfaction after a seafood feast. To refuel for a full day of films and cultural critique start your day with breakfast at White Elephant Cafe, overlooking the stunning Gnarabup Beach
For more ideas, head over here for our top tips on how to fill your time in the Margaret River region.
For all the info on the full CinefestOZ program, and to book your tickets, head over here.
Image credit: Jarrad Seng
Editor’s note: This article is sponsored by CinefestOZ and proudly endorsed by Urban List. Thank you for supporting the sponsors who make Urban List possible. Click here for more information on our editorial policy.