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Kids given a piece of Tropfest action

In 2008 Tropfest will be joined by Trop Jr, a short-film competition for children aged 15 and under.

Gather round, children.

As an annual event attracting the brightest Australian celluloid stars, Tropfest is a sophisticated affair.

On a Sunday night in February each year, short films about the fragility of the human condition are screened al fresco for gatherings of attendees who sup on sauvignon blanc and nibble on camembert. Conversations are strewn with words like "mise-èn-scene", and the event often runs beyond 11pm. Very grown-up indeed.

From 2008, the Tropfest event will be dotted with a lot more fresh-faced young'uns: this week saw Tropfest and the Australian Children's Television Foundation teaming up to launch Trop Jr, a short-film competition for children aged 15 and under.

The competition is free to enter, and films can be live action or animated. As with the original Tropfest, there is a signature item that must appear in all films in some form -- the item for 2008 is "green", which should spark the synapses of budding eco-warriors.

"Trop Jr will be a fun, accessible and positive platform for kids to show their work, and it will introduce audiences to the next generation of Australian filmmaking talent," said Tropfest founder and director John Polson in a statement.

The eight finalists' films will be screened at the Domain in Sydney on the afternoon of February 18th, just hours before Tropfest proper.

For all the info on Trop Jr, including rules of entry and advice on filming, visit the official Trop Jr Web site.