Tropfest, which bills itself as the largest short film festival in the world, was on again last night. More than 700 entries were whittled down to 16 finalists. The rules state that no film can be longer than seven minutes and must contain an object or a reference to the “TSI” or Tropfest Signature Item. This year’s TSI was “key”. Although the main event occurs in Sydney where Tropfest originated, there are Tropfest events held in other Australian capitals.
The contest judges represented a broad range of talent and experience. They included Tropfest founder, actor director John Polson and last year’s winner, actor Abe Forsyth. Comedian Magda Szubanski, singer Olivia Newton-John and director Bruce Beresford were also on the panel. Actor Joseph Fiennes who was in Spain cast his vote by satellite.
The winner was Damon Gameau’s animated film ANIMAL BEATBOX. The film used stop motion cellophane animals to illustrate a song. Actor Gameau has appeared on television in the series LOVE MY WAY and UNDERBELLY and in feature film BALIBO. Gameau says he made the film for $80 and shot it in his mother’s spare room. The filmmaker won $5000 and a digital camera.
The Trop Jnr prize went to the inventive Simeon Bain for his film IMAGINE. At $70 this film was even cheaper to make than the big winner. The 15 year-old filmmaker shot the entire thing on an iPhone 4.