Tropfest NY 2008 winner, “Mankind Is No Island” by Jason van Genderen
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The Tropfest short film festival is held in Sydney, Australia each year. Sydney hosts the live event which is then broadcast live via satellite to venues in Canberra, Brisbane, Perth, Hobart, Melbourne andAdelaide.
The festival’s name is derived from the first year’s location — the Tropicana Cafe in Darlinghurst, an inner-eastern suburb of Sydney. Created by John Polson, the first festival was held in 1993 with the films projected onto a blank wall and was called the Tropicana Short Film Festival in that first year.
In 2006 there were over 700 entrants and every year 16 finalists are screened in public parks and cafes around Australia. Sydney’s annual audience of around 100,000 people attend The Domain to watch the finalists on three large video screens.
Previously well known and not so well known patrons helped the event financially including Russell Crowe, Nicole Kidman and Tom Cruise, as well as funding from big ticket sponsors such as Intel, Sony, Showtime, Cointreau and MadFish Wines. Sony is the primary sponsor of Tropfest.
The winners are selected by a panel of judges made up of well known Australian and international film directors, actors, screen writers and producers, in addition to the previous year’s winner.
The Sydney screening of Tropfest 2006 was abandoned after 13 films due to severe electrical storms. Screenings in other cities were not affected. With the judges located in Sydney it was necessary to announce the winners two days later at a press conference.
Each film must be no longer than seven minutes, have never been shown publicly before and contain the Tropfest Signature Item, which in 2008 was ‘8’(could be anything that incorporates an eight) to show that the film was made specifically for the festival.
For Tropfest 2009, pay television channel Movie Extra will be replacing Sony as the naming rights sponsor for the next seven years. A new feature in 2009 will be the live national broadcast of Tropfest and screening of the finalist films on the Movie Extra channel.