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:: Spotlight :: Sony Tropfest 2006

By: Carmine Pascuzzi

Bubbling over with anticipation, audiences won't want to miss Australia's most effervescent short film festival, Sony Tropfest. On Sunday, February 26, 2006 all eyes will be fixed on 16 standout finalist short films to be screened at the world's largest short film festival. Whatever your flavour of film - action, comedy, romance or drama - no summer diary is complete without Sony Tropfest.

The event was launched recently at the Tropicana Cafe with guests, celebrities, sponsors and members of the Australian film and television industries. Sony Tropfest Creative Director/Founder, John Polson returned to Australia from New York to celebrate the launch of Sony Tropfest 2006.

Also in attendance was the Sony Tropfest winner for 2005, Luke Eve. Guests were treated to the premiere screening of the Sony Tropfest 2006 festival trailer, directed by Eve using Sony High Definition technology. Cast members include well-known Australian actors Vince Colosimo, Pia Miranda, Maria Venuti, Gabriel Carr, Tiriel Mora and Arky Michael (winner of Best Actor at Sony Tropfest 2005!).

The event also announced Sony Tropfest's new initiatives for the 2006 festival season, including the exciting new feature film production arm, the Tropfest Feature Program (TFP), fully funded by Movie Network channels.

Filmmakers have just under two months to submit their masterpieces before the January 19, 2006 deadline. All short films submitted must be no longer than seven minutes in length and must include the Tropfest Signature Item (TSI), to show the film was made specifically for Sony Tropfest 2006. The TSI for 2006 is "Bubble".

Bringing together friends, family and film fans alike, Sony Tropfest 2006 promises to be one of the biggest Australian cultural events of the summer with a full day of outdoor entertainment featuring live acts and a panel of celebrity judges, building up to the much anticipated awards ceremony.

For more information visit the Sony Tropfest website

**TROPFEST GOES INTERNATIONAL WITH MAJOR PARTNERSHIP**

It was announced that Tropfest will premiere on an international stage for the first time at the 2006 Tribeca Film Festival in New York City. Tropfest founder John Polson and Tribeca Film Festival founders Robert De Niro, Jane Rosenthal and Craig Hatkoff announced from New York the creation of a new Tribeca Film Festival program, Tropfest@Tribeca.

The partnership has been formed in recognition of the critical role that short films have played in the broader filmmaking world as well as to provide an audience for the work of emerging filmmakers.

“Like the Tribeca Film Festival, John Polson's Tropfest has created a distinctive cultural event. We look forward to offering this unique experience to our community,” said Robert De Niro, co-founder of the Tribeca Film Festival.

John Polson will serve as the Creative Director of Tropfest@Tribeca. He said of the announcement: “I am very excited to partner with Tribeca to create Tropfest@Tribeca. I never expected that showing one of my short films for friends and family fourteen years ago at the Tropicana Caffé in Sydney would lead to the creation of a short film festival that attracts over 150,000 people on a single night in Australia. The Tribeca Film Festival has become a landmark event for filmmakers, and I know that bringing Tropfest to Tribeca will provide significant opportunities to a new generation of short filmmakers around the world.”

Tropfest@Tribeca will screen 16 short films - eight films made specifically for the new festival, and eight “Best Of Sony Tropfest” - previously screened in Australia.

Following the traditional guidelines of Sony Tropfest, all short films submitted to Tropfest@Tribeca must be no longer than seven minutes in length and must include the Tropfest Signature Item (TSI), to show the film was made specifically for the festival. The TSI for Tropfest@Tribeca 2006 is “Manhole Cover”! (The Australian TSI for 2006 is “Bubble”.)

For entry details visit Tribeca

The 2006 Tribeca Film Festival, presented by American Express, will take place from April 25 - May 7, 2006. The 2006 Festival will feature screenings, special events, concerts, a family street fair, and panel discussions with noted filmmakers.

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Sony Tropfest has attracted 710 entries this year, one of the highest number of entries received in the festival's 14-year history. NSW drew 58% of total entries received, wth Victoria next on 20%.

DVD entries rose by 20% with 89% of all entries received in the DVD format.

Female directors rose to just over 20% of total entrants, giving 152 women the chance to win the new female focussed award category at the ceremony, the inaugural Cointreau Women in Film Award. This lucky recipient of the award will receive $5,000 to assist in furthering their development within the industry.

The youngest entrant is just 8 years of age. The oldest is a 74- year-old director/producer.

Sony Tropfest will be held on Sunday, February 26 at The Domain in Sydney, with concurrent events held at the Alexandra Gardens in Melbourne, Machine Laundry Café in Salamanca Square in Hobart, Suncorp Piazza in Brisbane and Princess May Park in Fremantle.

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On Sunday February 26, all eyes will be fixed on 16 of Australia's most talented filmmakers whose films have been selected to headline at this, one of the world's largest short film festival.

John Polson, Creative Director/Founder of Sony Tropfest, admits selecting the finalist films is always a difficult task:
“The large amount entries this year make selecting the 16 finalist a tough task. It's such a thrill to be privy to the work of some of the most talented new filmmakers that the country has to offer and we look forward to having them premiere at the festival.”

The winner of the festival receives The Qantas Scholarship Program, comprising a trip to LA and scheduled meetings with Hollywood executives and key international industry. Sony Australia will be offering the winner an amazing prize pack, including a HDV 1080i HANDYCAM and other accessories valued at over $3500.

In addition, the inaugural Cointreau Women in Film Award has been developed by Cointreau in conjunction with Sony Tropfest, and aims to encourage and support Australia's emerging female filmmaking talent. The recipient of the award will receive $5,000 in financial support to assist in furthering their development within the industry. The winner will be selected from the Sony Tropfest 2006 finalist and shortlisted entries for excellence in cinematography, editing, writing, directing, composing or producing by an industry-recognised panel of judges and presented at the festival.

Finalist films also go into the running to screen internationally at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York, subsequent to the announcement by John Polson and the Tribeca Film Festival of the creation of a new Tribeca Film Festival program, Tropfest@Tribeca.

The Tropfest Signature Item (TSI) for 2006 is ‘Bubble’ which has to be included in each film to show it has been made specifically for Sony Tropfest.

Sony Tropfest is proud to reveal the 16 finalists for the 2006 festival.

Title: A Room With Askew
Director: Gregory Godhard
State: NSW
Producer: Gregory Godhard
Synopsis: A room askew and a meal that may never happen.


Title: Applause
Director: Michael Noonan
State: QLD
Producers: Michael Noonan/Carine Chai
Synopsis: Struggling to find motivation, office worker Werner Brim is confronted with a most unusual situation - replacing the couch and coffee table in his office is a live audience…and they want to be entertained!


Title: Burst
Director: Juliet Lamont
State: NSW
Producer: Gail Williamson
Synopsis: To forgive is to set yourself free.


Title: Carmichael & Shane
Director: Alex Weinress/Rob Carlton
State: NSW
Producers: Alex Weinress/Rob Carlton
Synopsis: A single father has a unique approach to raising his two year old twin boys…pick a favourite.


Title: Carnivore Reflux
Director: Eddie White/James Calvert
State: SA
Producers: Huy Nguyen/Sam White
Synopsis: In their lifetime the average meat-eating human will consume; 10 cows, ½ tonne of fish, 760 chickens, 37 sheep and 42 pigs.


Title: Fishy
Director: Dale Sidney
State: VIC
Producer: Pamela Smith
Synopsis: A perfect Christmas dinner is wasted on a demanding picky, fussy snapper with impossibly high standards.


Title: Glitch
Director: Leon Ford
State: NSW
Producer: Leon Ford
Synopsis: Tim has a problem. The house he lives in no longer obeys the laws of logic. At times like this, there's only one man that can help.


Title: Goggles
Director: Olivia Peniston-Bird
State: VIC
Producer: Rebecca Peniston-Bird
Synopsis: Seven year old Billy encounters a couple of bullies on his way to the pool


Title: How Many Doctors Does It Take To Change A Lightbulb?
Director: Marie Patane
State: NSW
Producers: Marie Patane/Aimee Durrant
Synopsis: Rosie visits the local medical centre for a routine check-up… unfortunately its anything but routine! Are you due for a check-up?

Title: Last Stop
Director: Greg Williams
State: VIC
Producers: Tatiana Doroshenko/Greg Williams/Jacob Oberman
Synopsis: Even the simple act of taking public transport seems to be fraught with peril these days - especially if you're from somewhere else.


Title: Pacific
Director: Peter Carstairs
State: NSW
Producers: Madeleine Shaw
Associate Producer: Cecilia Ritchie
Synopsis: On a lonely beach, a chance encounter with a fisherman is the key to a young man letting go of his past and embracing his future.


Title: Silencer
Director: Frazer Bailey
State: QLD
Producer: Steve Campbell
Synopsis: A secret rendezvous. A loaded gun. A most unexpected arrival. Nobody said it was easy offing your best mate. Beware the thoughts of ordinary evil men.


Title: Snakepit
Director: Janos Zuzmara
State: VIC
Producer: Janos Zuzmara
Synopsis: Australia, two guys, a small room, sixty-three deadly snakes … only one man is at home.


Title: The Sister
Director: Belinda King
State: NSW
Producer: Belinda King
Synopsis: Amelia finally stands up to her sister, and discovers it's a piece of cake.


Title: The Story Of Bubbleboy
Director: Sean Ascroft
State: NSW
Producer: Kristy Fransen
Synopsis: In a stab-happy world, a sad outcast wrestles with his demons. The story of bubbleboy is a film about being trapped by the past and redeemed by the future.


Title: Tough Crowd
Director: Patrick Gillies
State: NSW
Producers: Patrick Gillies/ Jeremy Brennan
Synopsis: A petulant little girl proves to be a tough crowd for a tireless mime artist.

For more information, visit

www.tropfest.com