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:: Spotlight :: 2012 Movie Extra Tropfest

By: Carmine Pascuzzi

Filmmakers are being encouraged to enter a milestone year for the world’s largest short film festival – the 20th annual Movie Extra Tropfest Australia. Entrants have the opportunity to screen their short films in front of a massive live audience across Australia as well as hundreds of thousands of viewers live exclusively on MOVIE EXTRA on Sunday February 19 2012.

Whether you’re a beginner or pro, Movie Extra Tropfest is open to anyone eager to tell their story through film. All you have to do is grab a camera and start shooting. Entries close Thursday January 5 2012. Films must be no longer than seven minutes and, in Tropfest tradition, must contain the Signature Item - LIGHT BULB. The 20th year TSI was chosen specifically because Tropfest is all about the importance of the central idea in film.

Tropfest’s 20th Birthday competition will be hotly contested, with organisers predicting the biggest year ever. More than 700 entries are expected from Australia and overseas. For the second year running, entries will be received online in partnership with YouTube and overseas finalists will be flown from their home city to attend the event in Sydney.

Filmmakers and fans alike will also be able to participate in a host of spin-off activities and events Tropfest is adding to celebrate 20 years of putting the spotlight on filmmaking talent. Organisers have three days of filmmaking celebrations planned, taking the Festival from the traditional one-day event to a full Tropfest weekend. There will be parties, screenings of Tropfest gems from the past, and special film industry events, with full details to be announced soon.

As always, Movie Extra Tropfest will hold FREE outdoor screenings across the nation on Sunday – with new live sites being announced in the coming weeks. Film fans in Australia can also catch all the excitement live on subscription television channel, MOVIE EXTRA which is available on FOXTEL, Austar, Optus TV and TransTV, for the fourth consecutive year.

Tropfest Founder and Director, John Polson said, "Given our humble beginnings, I sometimes pinch myself that Tropfest has grown to such a scale. It all started twenty years ago with just a few of us at the Tropicana Café in Sydney, watching one (rather ordinary) short film of my own. Two decades on, we’re fostering filmmaking talent at an international level, offering a ground-breaking opportunity for filmmakers to showcase their skills in front of the largest live audience a short film can get - or any film for that matter. For serious filmmakers, entering Tropfest is like creating a showreel for the job interview of a lifetime. We’re also excited that Tropfest has exploded internationally. The inaugural Tropfest Arabia takes place next month in Abu Dhabi, we’re deep into planning Tropfest New York for 2012, and are about to launch more Tropfests in other cities around the world.”

2011 Movie Extra Tropfest winner Damon Gameau with his film “Animal Beatbox,” said, “I encourage anyone with an interest in filmmaking to enter Tropfest. It was an amazing experience, the talented mentors I came into contact with really helped me develop professionally, and the prizes and travel were also extraordinary. I am about to be part of the judging panel in the Middle East at the first ever Tropfest Arabia in November, which will be a fantastic experience. It continues to be a brilliant ride.”

Finalists walk the star-studded red carpet in Sydney and have their work judged by industry heavyweights, with past judges including Nicole Kidman, Toni Collette, Geoffrey Rush, Russell Crowe, Samuel L Jackson, Baz Luhrmann, Ewan McGregor, Elijah Wood, and many more. Finalists compete for a massive prize pool of cash, equipment and international travel valued at approximately $100,000, along with an unprecedented level of industry interest and attention.

For information on how to enter go here

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**Update as at January 6, 2012**

With entries now closed for Tropfest 2012, the world’s largest short film competition, Movie Extra Tropfest announced today that it will expand to even more venues than ever before. In addition to the usual Sydney summer setting of the Domain, held on Sunday February 19, 2012 and showcasing the 16 finalists, the event will be broadcast across Australia as well as on subscription channel Movie Extra.

For the first time in Tropfest history, New Zealand’s Bowl of Brooklands will showcase Australia’s short film finalists. 2012 will also see Tropfest expand to include a new venue partner in Wollongong, with the Wollongong Botanic Gardens hosting the event for the Illawarra locals. The finalists will be announced on February 3, 2012.

In related news, Tropfest Jr entries have also closed. Tropfest Managing Director, Michael Laverty says, “Trop Jr is about getting kids excited about filmmaking and having fun. We’re all looking forward to some great Trop Jr finalist films this year. The enthusiasm we get each year from our young filmmakers is great to see.”

For more information, visit

www.tropfest.com/au