Marriage proposals gone wrong, neighbours at war, medical centre nightmares and even extra-terrestrial encounters are among the content of the 16 finalist short films screening in the first Tropfest New Zealand screening at an outdoor event in New Plymouth on Sunday, February 19.
The shorts all no more than seven minutes, contain a lightbulb (this year’s Tropfest Signature Item) and are the finalists in the Tropfest Australia competition, says Suzanne Porter, executive director of the Taranaki Arts Festival Trust who is staging the event at the TSB Bowl of Brooklands.
“Just reading the synopsis of the films we are screening means the audience is definitely in for a great night cinematic entertainment from the best of Australia’s emerging film making talent,” says Ms. Porter.
The 16 lucky finalists in Tropfest Australia’s 20th competition include second generation filmmaker Matilda Brown, as well as Damian McLindon, director of the self-help documentary The Secret, and Tropfest’s youngest ever finalist, Eva Lazzaro – the 16 year old star of Foxtel’s hit series ‘Tangled’.
For the second year, Tropfest fans in Australia and New Zealand have the opportunity to choose the 16th finalist that will premiere at the final’s festival on Sunday 19 February in Sydney from a selection uploaded to You Tube.
Ten films, including work by comedian Peter Helliar, Looking for Alibrandi’s Kick Gurry and The Jesters’ Ben Geurens, have been uploaded to Tropfest’s YouTube channel. Visit www.youtube.com/tropfest to have your say.
Tropfest’s Founder and Director, John Polson, says he’s thrilled to be celebrating Tropfest’s 20th Birthday.
“Increasingly each year, I’m stunned by the quality of films entered into Tropfest from people all over Australia and the world, many with budgets of just a few dollars,” says Mr. Polson.
“Last year the quality was so strong, we let our audience decide on the 16th film for the first time, so we’re incredibly excited to be bringing our YouTube competition back this year. I want to congratulate all our filmmakers, and I want to thank our supporters for once again enabling Tropfest to take place FREE for the Australian – and now New Zealand – public – in particular our biggest partner, Movie Extra.”
Tropfest is one of the world’s premiere launch pads for young and emerging filmmakers, and there are some great prizes up for grabs, along with the kudos of winning the undisputed world’s largest short film festival. Finalists compete for a massive prize pool of cash, equipment and international travel valued at approximately $100,000, along with an unprecedented level of industry interest and attention.
Australian finalists walk the star-studded red carpet and have their work judged by industry heavyweights, with past judges including Nicole Kidman, Ewan McGregor and Geoffrey Rush. Tropfest judges are often kept tightly under wraps until event night.
The finalists will be screened live on Sunday 19 February to an anticipated audience of 150,000 at free outdoor public events across Australia and New Zealand, where it takes place for the first time this year in New Plymouth at a free outdoor cinema event at the TSB Bowl of Brooklands.
“Bring your picnic hamper, your love of films and enjoy a fantastic outdoor screening,” says Ms. Porter.
“We’ll be playing a welcome clip from LA-based Kiwi actor Martin Henderson as well as making a significant announcement about the future of Tropfest in New Zealand.”
When the gates open to the public at 4pm, there will be music courtesy of the Most FM until the official welcome and screening of the first eight films at 6.30pm running until approximately 9.30pm.