Sydney's well known Tropfest just happened last Sunday and it was a total success. An estimated 100 000 people came out last weekend to Centennial Park to watch 16 short films, while lounging on picnic blankets and enjoying good food and drinks.
Every year, the festival attracts the attention of many with its great selection of short films. Not only film lovers attend the event, but people who just want to have a good time.
And it really is enjoyable. In the middle of Centennial Park on a warm summer day, having a picnic with friends and enjoying a couple of amusing short films on the side, what more could you want?
This year's Tropfest almost didn't happen though. Originally planned for December, the festival was cancelled weeks before the actual event date, due to financial issues. Luckily, the festival recovered quickly and made a comeback on Valentines Day this year.
Just when the sun began to set, the festival was officially opened by its founder, John Polson, and the short films started. But Tropfest also offered an entertainment program long before the official opening. KLP and Gideon Bensons were the two main musical acts to perform before the screening of the films and they put people in the mood for more. The Tropfest organisers really made sure that no one got bored during the event. The 16 short films were shown with a 20-minute intermission.
All short films were made by Australian filmmakers except for one, Shiny, and it is this film that won Tropfest's first prize. Shiny is not even 4 minutes in length and is a stop motion film from the L.A. filmmaker duo Spencer Ausser and Daniel "Cloud" Campos. Both of them were extremely surprised and overwhelmed with their success at Tropfest.
The first prize does not only include a cash $10,000 prize, but also a round trip to L.A. for a week of meetings with film industry executives, a Nikon D800 plus $2000 RRP worth of lenses and accessories, a HP Spectre, a Hyundai Tuscon for a year and, of course, a Tropfest trophy. The festival really does know how to celebrate a winner in style.
There was also a second prize ($2,500), which was awarded to Tristan Klein and Nick Baker for their animation film Postcards to Ulay. Rick Donald, filmmaker and actor, walked away with two prices from Tropfest. He won Best Male Actor for his performance in his film, The ATM, and also won third prize ($1,500) for the film overall.
Natalie Bassingthwaite was awarded as Best Female Actor in Why Would I Lie?. Additionally, Nikon sponsored the Nikon DSLR Award, which was won by Tim Hatfield and Andrew Kennedy for their documentary Jeff Harding.
The short films were judged by an incredible top-class judging panel, which included Mel Gibson, Simon Baker (The Mentalist), Rebecca Gibney (Wanted), Cinematographer Don McAlpine (Moulin Rouge) and Director Jocelyn Moorhouse (The Dressmaker).
Only one of the 16 finalist films was made by a woman. 22 year old Angela McCormack did not win a price with her film Tay Man, but for sure did enthuse the audience with her extremely funny short film about men who are obsessed with Taylor Swift.
Tropfest did its reputation justice and did not disappoint. It was a very entertaining night and day, with good short films and an incredible atmosphere overall. Tropfest is a unique and entertaining film festival. It's one of a kind, because where else in the world can you go to a film festival under the stars?