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Sony launches Tropfest 2005

Sony kicked off Tropfest 2005 last night -the short film festival that has become an iconic Australian summer event.

Sony kicked off Tropfest 2005 last night with a call to filmmakers to enter the short film festival that has become an iconic Australian summer event over the past 13 years.

Industry representatives, filmmakers, sponsors and special guests were brought to the birthplace of Tropfest, the Tropicana Café in Darlinghurst, Sydney, last night to hear the official call for entries by host Adam Spencer.

Guests at the launch were shown an amusing trailer for the 2005 event, which was shot using Sony high-definition technology and directed by Tropfest 2004 winner, Garry Eck. While the founder of Tropfest, John Polson, could not make it to the launch due to production of his film Hide and Seek in LA, his message was of enthusiasm and support.

"As always this is the most exciting time of year for us at Sony Tropfest, as we anticipate the diverse crop of films about to arrive at Trop HQ," Polson said on a video message screened at the launch party.

With less than nine weeks to go until the deadline for submissions (6pm, 20 January 2005) and the first short film already received by Tropfest, filmmakers taking part must rush to produce their entries.

For the first time in the history of the festival, films can be submitted on DVD. The short films must be under seven minutes long and creatively feature the Tropfest signature item, which for 2005 is 'umbrella'. Past signature items have included 'muffin', 'kiss', 'match' and 'hook'.

Sixteen finalist films will be chosen and shown to an expected audience of over 100,000 people attending the free outdoor film festival on Sunday 27 February 2005. Sony Tropfest will be simultaneously broadcast via satellite to Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, Hobart and Canberra.

Tropfest has previously drawn celebrity guests such as Salma Hayek, Toni Collette, Ewan McGregor and Nicole Kidman to judge the finalist films.

For interested filmmakers, Sony will be hosting a free Roughcut seminar at NIDA (National Institute of Dramatic Arts) in Sydney on 11 December, the presentations and information from which will be made available on the Internet for those unable to attend. iPrimus broadband customers will be offered exclusive access to download the sixteen finalist films.

Discounts for Tropfest filmmakers will also be made available -- Videocraft is offering 20 per cent discount on the rental of Sony production equipment and Lemac will give 20 per cent off rental of Sony's HDCAM kits.

Network 10 is encouraging participants with the InTENship initiative where one filmmaker will be offered eight weeks work placement on Big Brother, Australian Idol, Neighbours and next year's The X-Factor. All sixteen finalists will receive $1,000 prize money.

More information on the event and details for entrants can be found at the Tropfest Web site.