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Tropfest all on for 2013

The humble gumboot will be the star in the Tropfest New Zealand short film competition launched today. As the mandatory “Tropfest Signature Item” Kiwi filmmakers can creatively use the gumboot in any way they like in a short film of no more than seven minutes duration.

With entries open from Monday, February 20, filmmakers must complete and enter their film by October 31, 2012, and follow five simple criteria.

Their short film must have been made specifically for Tropfest, Tropfest will be its first public screening, the short must be no longer than seven minutes including titles and credits, the entrants must be New Zealand citizens, and the film must contain the Tropfest Signature Item – a gumboot!

Organised by the Taranaki Arts Festival Trust (TAFT), Tropfest will give emerging and established filmmakers a great opportunity to show off their talent to New Zealand and the world, says TAFT’s chief executive, Suzanne Porter.

“Tropfest is the world’s largest short film competition offering entrants exposure to a huge global audience,” explains Ms. Porter.

“Apart from the competition running right across Australia, there are now competitions being held in New York, Las Vegas and in Dubai – with more planned for China, London and Paris.”

Tropfest started in Sydney 20 years ago by acclaimed Australian director, John Polson.

“We’re incredibly excited to have a screening tonight in New Zealand,“ says Mr. Polson.

“This is our first screening and I couldn’t image a better backdrop than the TSB Bowl of Brooklands for you guys to be seeing the Movie Extra Tropfest 2012 finalists.”

Support for the New Zealand competition is already growing with film makers Gaylene Preston, Vincent Ward and Catherine Fitzgerald coming on board as patrons, along with Kiwi actors Katie Wolfe, Robyn Malcolm and La-based actor, Martin Henderson.

Malcolm says she’s “really excited and honored to be an ambassador of NZ Tropfest”.

“I have attended Tropfest in Australia over the years and it really is such a wonderful and comprehensive celebration of short films and their makers. New Zealand has a prolific, diverse and world class short film industry and Tropfest is a marvelous way for these films and all those involved to be recognized as our film makers and collaborators of the future. It’s great that Tropfest is now part of the fabric of our industry.”

Meanwhile, Martin Henderson who has attended Tropfest screenings in Sydney, says to “have Tropfest come to New Zealand is so exciting”.

“I’m thrilled to be a patron of something which I know will entertain and inspire all those who are lucky enough to attend. I truly hope it will inspire Kiwi filmmakers young and old to get their stories out there because it is through stories that we come to know ourselves a little more,” Henderson says.

Through Tropfest NZ’s website, film makers will be able to find out more about the New Zealand competition, its entry categories and prizes for winners and finalists, says Ms. Porter.

“We are in the early developmental stages for the competition but there’s already a ground swell of support and enthusiasm from industry guilds and professionals for Tropfest,” says Ms. Porter.

“Technology means film making is so achievable today and able to be enjoyed by a worldwide audience. We believe New Zealand is a nation of talented, boutique film makers who need accessible opportunities like Tropfest to develop their talents.”

Following the closure of entries at the end of October, a secret panel of industry experts will judge the films and the finalists will be announced.

Along the lines of the huge outdoor screening events in Australia for Tropfest films, finalists will then be screened at an outdoor cinema event at the TSB Bowl of Brooklands in New Plymouth at a date to set in late January or February, 2013.

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