Tropfest turns 25, celebrates by becoming not for profit and introducing new agenda

After a few turbulent years, the world’s largest short film festival has announced it will become a not for profit business and will shift it’s focus to attracting more women filmmakers and introduce a board to promote the longevity of the organization.

25 years ago, John Polson and a couple of his friends stood outside a Kings Cross Café collecting entry fees in a bucket for the very first Tropfest. It’s come a long way since, from its peak programs drawing over 200,000 people to the Sydney venue, to its lows and recent cancelled programs and financial controversies.

Tropfest has also announced a multiple-year partnership with CGU Insurance, which will restore major funding to the festival, as founder John Polson announced,

“We’re delighted to have CGU back on board. Their support has been critical to the future of the festival, and in turn, the future of many emerging Australian filmmakers. The changes we have announced today, a result of recommendations to come out of Tropfest’s strategic review, undertaken by partner EY, will also bring new voices and expertise to the festival, starting with one of the film world’s most celebrated storytellers, George Miller.”

Queenslander and Australian Film great George Miller has joined the board and will continue his advocacy for the festival following his last year Academy Award nomination for best director.

Tropfest has also released the ‘Signature Item’ required by all entrants for the 25th festival will be a pineapple. There are nearly six full months left to craft stories before the deadline of Thursday 15 December and all films entered into Tropfest must be no longer than seven minutes and must contain the Signature Item (TSI).

Tropfest has fostered the careers of some the biggest and brightest names in the industry, including Sam Worthington, Joel and Nash Edgerton and Rebel Wilson. It has long received support from Australia’s most iconic directors, including George Miller, Baz Leurman and Mel Gibson.

Jason Gann is one of those dark horse stories highlighting Tropfest potential. After his short Wilfred aired, it went on to be picked up by SBS and then subsequently remade for US audiences as a comedy series starring Elijah Wood.

The event has been rejuvenated and after 25-years appears to only be gaining more momentum, continuing as the worlds biggest short film festival and as the world’s first global film festival.


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