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Tropfest off to tropical New Plymouth

Finalists in Tropfest Australia, the world’s largest short film festival, are coming to New Zealand at an outdoor short film night at New Plymouth’s Bowl of Brooklands on February 19, 2012.

Coinciding with the screening of the 16 finalists’ films in Sydney, the free outdoor event will be run by the Taranaki Arts Festival Trust and will be a showcase of the best short films from the more than 700 entries expected for the 2012 Australian competition.

Tropfest was started in Sydney 20 years ago by acclaimed film maker John Polson as a screening in a café for 200 people. It is now Australia’s most prestigious short film competition with the finals screened to a live audience of more than 150,000 at outdoor screenings in Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra, Perth, Hobart, Surfers Paradise, Brisbane, Adelaide – and now New Plymouth. The event is also broadcast live on television across Australia.

Tropfest is also now the largest international short film event with a new competition set for New York in 2012; an Arabian competition open to film makers across the Middle East and North Africa; and imminent plans to launch in a number of other territories including London and China.

The competition is open to anyone and attracts talented and emerging film makers as well as experienced production teams. The high calibre of the 16 finalist films will make for a highly entertaining screening says TAFT’s chief executive, Ms. Suzanne Porter.

“Australia and New Zealand share a love of film making – and the calibre of the shorts in the Tropfest final is world class so we’re really thrilled to be able to offer the only screening of these fantastic shorts in New Zealand,” explains Ms. Porter.

“Tropfest continues to grow in popularity due to the exposure it offers film makers – and the variety and entertainment value the films bring to an audience.

“Part of the beauty of Tropfest is also its simplicity. Each film can be no more than seven minutes, must be made specifically for Tropfest, and contain the Tropfest Signature Item which this year is ‘a light bulb’.”

The screening at New Plymouth’s outdoor venue, the Bowl of Brooklands, will coincide with the massive outdoor screening of the finalist shorts planned for Sydney’s Domain in the Royal Botanic Gardens.

The Australian event attracts some 150,000 spectators at live events around the country for a night of film celebrities, music – and of course short films, says Tropfest Founder and Director, John Polson.

”I couldn’t be more excited to see Tropfest come to New Zealand in this way. We’ve had our eye on our closest neighbour for quite some time, and I’m over the moon anticipating a live outdoor Tropfest screening in New Plymouth. Everyone knows the ‘secret ingredient’ to a good deal of ‘Australia’s’ film talent is New Zealand,” Polson joked. “Names like Russell Crowe, Jane Campion and Sam Neill spring to mind. It’s great to be able to give something back to that uniquely talented country in return!”

As the first of what is planned to be an annual Tropfest screening at the Bowl, the focus of the New Plymouth event will also be to create an entertaining night of films, music and celebrity guests.

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