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:: Spotlight :: 2011 Movie Extra Tropfest

By: Carmine Pascuzzi

Filmmakers from across the globe are being encouraged to enter one of the world’s largest short film festival – the 19th annual Movie Extra Tropfest. For the first time ever Tropfest are offering to fly finalist filmmakers from outside Australia to attend the huge live event and walk the red carpet in Sydney on Sunday, February 20 2011.

Film buffs from around the world now have an opportunity to unlock the door to stardom by seeing their film screened to hundreds of thousands of film fans across Australia, and international film industry luminaries. Past judges have included Nicole Kidman, Naomi Watts, Toni Collette, Rose Byrne, Geoffrey Rush, Russell Crowe, Samuel L Jackson, Baz Luhrmann, Keanu Reeves, Sam Neill, Ewan McGregor, Jane Campion, Salma Hayek, and George Miller.

Whether you are a novice or have a few films under your belt, Tropfest is open to anyone who is eager to tell a story through film. All you have to do is grab a camera, a few mates and start shooting your short film. Entries close on Thursday January 6 2011. To enter, all you have to do is create a film that is no longer than seven minutes. In Tropfest tradition, your film must contain the 2011 Movie Extra Tropfest Signature Item – KEY.

As always, Tropfest will be hotly contested with more than 600 entries expected from across Australia and overseas. For the first time this year entries will be received online through a new partnership with YouTube, making it easier for international entrants by eliminating the need to provide their film on a DVD.

Tropfest Founder and Director John Polson said the Festival is a phenomenal launching pad for filmmakers, “This year we really want to encourage films from different places around the world. Hopefully the opportunity to come to Australia on us and have your short film screened in front of hundreds of thousands of people around the nation at the many live outdoor events and on the Movie Extra channel, is the right sort of motivation. This year we’ve made the submission process even easier for international filmmakers with our new dedicated Tropfest YouTube channel. So go on and get brain-storming right now and get your submission in soon.”

For the third year in a row, thanks to Tropfest’s Naming Rights Partner, the event will be broadcast live on Subscription TV channel MOVIE EXTRA, taking the fun and excitement of the festival into homes around the country. Tropfest’s mobile category, Telstra Mobile Masterpieces, is back for the second year giving filmmakers an opportunity to unleash their creativity on their mobile phones. The same rules apply as the main competition, with the winner receiving $5,000 cash and a trip to the 2012 Sundance Film Festival.

2010 winner Abe Forsythe said that Tropfest propelled his career, “Winning Tropfest was a fantastic experience. I encourage everyone out there to enter whether you’re a beginner, at film school or if you’re a seasoned professional. It could actually change your life.”

To download a copy of the Tropfest guidelines go here

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Trop Jr – the world’s largest short film festival for kids, by kids – is inviting young filmmakers to unleash their creativity on the big screen. Entries for the junior Tropfest have opened, giving filmmakers aged 15 years and under an opportunity to show off their talents and walk the red carpet for the first time. There are great prizes up for grabs this year including a digital video camera, educational filmmaking experiences and fame! Trop Jr finalists will have their short films screened at the Domain in Sydney ahead of the iconic Movie Extra Tropfest event on Sunday February 20 2011. Trop Jr and Tropfest have become major drawcards for film lovers across the nation, attracting hundreds of thousands of fans every year.

Entries close on January 6 and kids can enter online
To be eligible, young filmmakers will have to create a film that is no longer than seven minutes, as well as feature the Trop Jr Signature Item for 2011 – FAN.

Tropfest Founder and Director, John Polson said, “We created Trop Jr in 2008 to encourage the next generation of filmmakers to get out there and make new films each year, about things important to them. From around 80 entries in our first festival, Trop Jr attracted 180 entries last year so it’s now firmly established as one of Australia’s most popular filmmaking initiatives for kids.”

Last year Peter Richardson & Josh Raish’s short ‘Every Coin Has Two Sides’ beat 13 other finalists wowing audiences across Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra, Surfers Paradise and Brisbane. Richardson said, “Trop Jr was an awesome experience for us. We had so much fun with cinematography, film is such a great way to express yourself, and we learned so much.”

Polson added, “Trop Jr is about encouraging kids to make new short films every year, to explore their creative talents as a school group or with friends, get experience, and to shine amongst peers, and industry influencers as finalists. The quality of entries has been pretty amazing over the years, and I’m gearing up for some great films this year.”

The Australian Children’s Television Foundation (ACTF), the founding Presenting Partner of Trop Jr, is again providing invaluable support to the festival. ACTF Chief Executive Officer, Jenny Buckland said, “The ACTF is delighted to join forces with Tropfest to present Trop Jr once again. We are anticipating lots of laughs, some tears and a few gasps when the finalist films are unveiled in February. The creativity of our youngest filmmakers is always inspiring.”

ABC3, ABC TV’s dedicated children’s digital channel, is also on board again as the Major Media Partner and will be providing some great prizes for the winner.

Visit here for entry and information and subscribe to Trop Jr News for regular updates. If you’re too old for Trop Jr, visit
Movie Extra Tropfest 2011 for festival details.

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**Update as at December 9, 2010**

Movie Extra Tropfest have reminded filmmakers that they have just four weeks to get their film or mobile short into the world’s largest short film festival – the 19th Movie Extra Tropfest and mobile film category Telstra Mobile Masterpieces.

The deadline for both is Thursday January 6 2011 and Tropfest is urging film buffs to grab their mobile phone or camera and start shooting now for a chance to shine. Finalist’s films are screened to a massive live audience at events across Australia on Sunday February 20 2011, and broadcast live to homes across the nation on Subscription TV channel MOVIE EXTRA.

Whether you are a novice or have a few films under your belt, Tropfest is open to anyone who is eager to tell a story through film. To enter, all you have to do is create a film that is no longer than seven minutes. In Tropfest tradition, your films for both Movie Extra Tropfest and Telstra Mobile Masterpieces must contain the 2011 Movie Extra Tropfest Signature Item – KEY.

John Polson, Tropfest’s Founder and Director says there’s still enough time to get your winning film together. “If you’ve got an idea for a good story, get cracking - you don’t need a fancy camera or state-of the art-technology. A film called “Mankind is No Island” won Tropfest NY a couple of years ago. It was shot entirely on a mobile phone on a budget of just $56.”

Tropfest is a phenomenal launch pad for young and emerging filmmakers, and there will be some great prizes up for grabs, aside from the kudos of winning the world’s largest short film festival. Plus, any film made on a mobile phone and entered into Telstra Mobile Masterpieces could win $5,000 in cash and a VIP trip to the 2012 Sundance Film Festival to meet with international film industry heavyweights. All films entered in the mobile category are automatically entered in the main competition, so you could walk away with both prizes.

As always, Tropfest will be hotly contested with hundreds of entries expected from across Australia and the world. For the first time films are entered via YouTube, making entry from across Australia and abroad so easy. Check out the new Tropfest YouTube Channel
Stay a while and discover tips from past winners, view a wealth of Tropfest films archived on the site, and download this year’s guidelines.

Also new to Tropfest, filmmakers from across the globe have an extra incentive to enter. For the first time ever, any filmmaker from outside Australia whose film is chosen as a Finalist to screen at the festival will be flown to Sydney for the event on Sunday February 20 2011.

Movie Extra Tropfest is broadcast in the following capital cities live across Australia: Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra, Surfer's Paradise, Brisbane, Perth, Adelaide and Hobart.

NOTES

Entering Movie Extra Tropfest 2011
- Join in the fun and tradition of Tropfest by submitting a film into the world’s largest short film festival.
- Beginners, student filmmakers or already have a few films under the belt, Tropfest is open to anyone eager to tell a story through film.
- For the first time this year, any filmmaker from outside Australia who’s film is chosen to screen at the festival will be flown to Australia for the event.
- The 2011 Movie Extra Tropfest Signature Item (TSI) is ‘KEY’, to be eligible for competition, the TSI must be somewhere in the film. It can be featured in anyway – big or small.
- Entries close Thursday January 6 2011 at 6.00pm.
- 2011 Guidelines available at www.tropfest.com/au
- Guidelines basics to enter the 2011 competition:
o Film must be made specifically for Movie Extra Tropfest 2011
o Movie Extra Tropfest 2011 must be the film’s first public screening, including online
o Film must be no longer than seven minutes (including title and end credits)
o Film must contain the TSI – ‘KEY’
- Telstra Mobile Masterpieces – Tropfest’s mobile category is back for the second year, and there are some great prizes up for grabs.
- Tropfest has a new partnership with YouTube - all entries will be received online via our Tropfest YouTube Channel (No DVDs).
- A selection of the best films will screen at the festival on Sunday February 20 2011, seen by hundreds of thousands of people either at one of the live, outdoor festival events around Australia or at home on TV on Movie Extra.
- Check out some of the past finalist films on www.youtube.com/tropfest

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**Winners announced**

Damon Gameau has won the 19th annual Movie Extra Tropfest - the world’s largest short film festival in front of crowds of 150,000 nationwide and a live broadcast on Movie Extra to hundreds of thousands more film fans. “Animal Beatbox” was voted in by some of the film industry’s most respected, including well-known feature film director Bruce Beresford, living legend Olivia Newtown-John, Aussie favourite Jack Thompson, Twilight heartthrob Xavier Samuel, director Stephan Elliott, producer Liz Watts, last year’s Tropfest winner Abe Forsythe and Tropfest Founder and Director John Polson.

Surprise judge ‘Shakespeare in Love’ actor Joseph Fiennes weighed in live from Majorca Spain before casting his vote online. The winning film is a branch into animation by Underbelly and Balibo actor Gameau, with a catchy lyrical and poetic narrative. The film was shot in his mother’s spare room for just $85 and on a liquid detox diet with his girlfriend by his side – somehow they are still together. “I’m quite new to stop animation, but I find it a quick and versatile way to express any idea that may be lurking in my head,” Damon said.

Thrown into Tropfest’s coveted prize booty this year was a surprise trip to Abu Dhabi to judge the first ever Tropfest Arabia - announced by Polson during the evening. Gameau also wins a trip to Los Angeles to meet with agents and film industry executives, a brand new Canon digital video camera valued at $10,499, $5,000 cash, and the kudos of winning one of the world’s most prestigious film competitions.

Founder and Director, John Polson said Animal Beatbox literally reverberated throughout the crowd. “It’s such an interesting and unusual film, unlike anything I have seen. The crowd reaction was incredible. It’s the sort of film that’s difficult to describe – an animated poem – that somehow resonated with the huge audience."

Polson announced “LIGHTBLUB” as the Tropfest Signature Item (TSI) for Tropfest’s 20th year saying it was the ideal TSI for the big anniversary since “Tropfest is all about the strength of the idea.”

Max Tropscore winner Sam Wyatt played his winning score “She’s the One I Want in my Life” live onstage to welcome Tropfest’s purple carpet. Wyatt, from South Australia, took home $5,000 cash and will have his score played on rotation on MAX music channel.

Steve Baker used animation to take out the Telstra Mobile Masterpieces mobile filmmaking category with “Following”, proving you don’t need sophisticated camera equipment to bring home a prize. Baker, from Queensland, wins $5,000 cash and a trip to the Sundance Film Festival to meet industry heavyweights worth around $13,000 from Telstra.

Tropfest’s purple carpet was a star studded affair. Festival goers and Movie Extra viewers were treated to some fine celebrity spotting with industry movers-and-shakers Andrew Denton, Cheree Cassidy, Chris Lilley, Rachel Ward, Mick Molloy, Pia Miranda, Damian Walsh Howling, Sacha Horler, Tara Morice, Sybilla Budd, Conrad Colby, Gracie Otto, Dieter Brummer, Emma Lung, Diarmid Heideneich, George Houvardas, Leeanna Walshmen, Gigi Edgley, Luke Ford, Matilda Brown, Rebel Wilson, Ryan Corr, Tim Pocock, Todd Lasance and Rob Carlton among the Tropfest fans.

Celebrity guests were greeted by Chaser pranksters Chris Taylor and Craig Reucassel who gave everyone a serve, and Movie Extra presenters Lizzy Lovett and James Tobin for the live broadcast. Comedy duo Adam Spencer and Julia Zemiro hosted the evening.

90’s Aussie rock legends the Baby Animals closed Australia’s short film night of nights with their power ballad “One Word” getting everyone off their bums – even the younger festival goers. And Sydney’s newest prince of pop, Jonathon Boulet kept the waiting afternoon crowds entertained, with the weather holding off despite a showery forecast.

Audiences relaxed on picnic blankets or joined in on the huge line-up of free entertainment, including a make your own flip book tent, roaming photo booths, and bucket loads of free things to take home.

If you missed out on seeing all the live action on the night, tune in to Movie Extra on Saturday February 26 for a two hour Movie Extra Tropfest special from 12.30pm - 2.30pm (AEDT). Hosted by Adam Spencer and Julia Zemiro, you’ll have a chance to view the finalist films including the winning film of Movie Extra Tropfest 2011, and all the red carpet action.

For an insider look into Movie Extra Tropfest 2011 don’t forget to check out Top of The Trops, hosted by Renee Brack, presenting all 16 finalist films and interviews with the directors every night from Monday February 21 until Tuesday March 8 at 8.15pm (AEDT) on Movie Extra, channel 417.

All finalist films are available from the Tropfest YouTube Channel. Go online and it also comes free on DVD in the Sydney Morning Herald and Age on Saturday February 26 2011.

For more information, visit

www.tropfest.com/au