By Kate Rodger
The world's largest short film festival is finally coming to New Zealand, with a call out to all the budding young Kiwi Spielberg and Scorsese wannabes to get out their cameras and make a short film.
Tropfest began in Australia over 20 years ago and organisers have signed up some high profile Kiwi actors as ambassadors for their first ever New Zealand festival.
“Tropfest has become such a phenomenon in Aussie, and I’ve been a patron of that for a couple of decades I think,” says actor Sam Neill.
“A lot of talent has been generated and discovered as a result of this and now they have Tropfest New York, and now New Zealand.”
The festival all started in a Sydney café, and it’s now the world's largest short film festival held everywhere from Israel to China to Paris.
“If anything, it’s really a way to provide audiences and film makers with something other than Hollywood,” says Tropfest founder John Polson.
“We're all bombarded with these sometimes great Hollywood blockbuster films but I'm interested in what's happening to people on the street, what are their stories? In the case of New Zealand what are young film makers here thinking about? What could they do with $50 and a mobile phone that might go viral on YouTube or whatever?”
Tropfest has been a leg-up for a few now very familiar film faces.
“We have a list of film makers and success stories, whether it’s Sam Worthington winning best actor at Tropfest way back then when noone knew who he was, he's obviously just starred in the biggest film ever to be released. We don't claim Sam Worthington or any of our people but what we do say, we gave him the best audience they had at the time,” says Mr Polson.