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CinéfestOZ Closes With ‘Eye of The Storm’

Australian director Fred Schepisi given award as his film adaptation of Patrick White's novel gathers momentum in advance of an anticipated TIFF screening.

West Australia’s up-and-coming film festival, CinéfestOZ, wrapped over the weekend with a closing night gala in honor of director Fred Schepisi after a screening of his hotly tipped film adaptation of Patrick White's novel, The Eye of the Storm. The Australian-born producer/director, well received in Hollywood after successfully helming numerous known films the past few decades such as Six Degrees of Separation, The Devil’s Playground and Roxanne, was given an achievement award Saturday evening after The Eye Of The Storm screened in the small town of Busselton, just south of Perth.

“I’m happy for the films I get to make,” Schepisi said at the closing party after being given the award (and name checking a few notable films with top talent attached that never made it to production for various reasons over the years).

The Eye Of The Storm has so far made critics who have seen it happy, with more critical reaction expected at TIFF in Toronto after it screens September 11th at the Winter Garden Theater.

The drama boasts potentially Oscar-worthy performances from Judy Davis, Charlotte Rampling and Geoffrey Rush, an executive producer on the film, and already was named the best Australian feature at the Melbourne International Film Festival earlier this month when it screened in Melbourne.

'The Eye Of The Storm' Wins at Melbourne International Film Festival

The Eye Of The Storm represents a homecoming of sorts for the 71-year-old—it’s the first film he’s shot in his native country in decades. “It’s not for lack of trying,” he said Saturday evening regarding his return to filming down under.  Per reports, The Eye Of The Storm won’t be his last, either. Local media are already anticipating big things from Schepisi’s next rumored project, The Downer, which various Aussie outlets are reporting he’s currently scouting locations for in Australia’s largest state.

The Sunday Morning Times said producers of the film, about the building of a massive Australian water pipeline to pump water deep into the outback circa 1900, are already “in talks” with names such as Cate Blanchett and Emily Blunt for roles in the epic.

Other films that made noise at CinéfestOZ over the weekend included Mad Bastards and Craig Lahiff’s outback-noir thriller Swerve, which stars David Lyons and Emma Booth.