Roll out the picnic rug and BYO popcorn. The 25th anniversary of Tropfest is here and it looks like this year it’s going to be bigger and better than ever.
25 years ago, Tropfest, a not-for-profit organisation, began to create avenues for new and existing filmmakers by sharing their short films at their festival. Today, Tropfest is the world’s largest short film festival and stands by its simple purpose of celebrating and showcasing the diversity of Australia’s film industry. This year Tropfest fans, also known as ‘Troppers’, have even more to be excited about. Not only will Tropfest be celebrating its commendable 25 year anniversary, it will be doing so from its new location at Parramatta Park. The other good news about Tropfest is that unless you decide to ‘Pick Your Patch’ and reserve your grassy spot, Tropfest is free! That means all that’s left to do is grab some friends, food and wine and enjoy a night of serious entertainment.
To get you ready, we’ve condensed the festivities into this neat little guide for you, highlighting some of the finalists, entertainment and events for Tropfest 2017, set to take place this Saturday February 11 from 12pm.
The Finalists: Tropfest
This year Tropfest will kick off from 2pm at Parramatta Park. There will be live music, ‘black carpet’ arrivals, a screening of the 24 past winners of Tropfest and most importantly, the premiere of the 2017 finalists.
The 16 finalists are handpicked from several hundred entries from around the world. This year, for the first time ever, Tropfest is proudly promoting eight female finalists out of the 16 filmmakers. As usual the competing filmmakers must have used the Tropfest Signature Item (TSI) to inspire their work. This year the TSI is a pineapple which is sure to generate some quirky and innovative concepts.
One of the finalists to watch this year is Michael Noonan, who is a veteran Tropfest competitor having been a finalist six times now. His film Accomplice features a small dog who decides to take action regarding his owner’s troubling nocturnal activities.
Julia Morris returns to production with buoyancy and single-mindedness. Her short film, Can’t I Sh#t In Peace documents the lengths one working mother will go to get a moment of peace from her hectic life.
London based director, Olly Sindle has entered a portrait film titled Service Update, about a true legend of the London underground. Filmed over the course of the year it was a project born out of sheer admiration for a man who brings unwavering joy to thousands of London commuters everyday.
Another pair of finalists who are expected to be forerunners for this year are Ellenor Argyropoulo and Arielle Thomas who have co-directed their entry, Meat and Potatoes. This film is about a vegan couple who are facing the apocalypse without food.
A third-generation Kytherian-Australian, James Prineas’ The Beekeepers tells of the current emigration from Greece. The scenes with actors were shot in just four days, while the remainder of the film was captured and edited between holiday outings.
Bringing a completely unexpected entry to the competition are filmmakers Tristan Klein and Nick Baker. Their entry, The Wall, is an animated short film which explores the refugee-experience in a completely abstract and non-literal manner. The pair hope that their unique work will leave audiences questioning themes of humanity and politics.
With such an array of genres and talent, Tropfest’s Founder and Chairman John Polson has admitted that this year “it was extremely difficult to choose [the] finalists from such a strong group.” Needless to say that whether your favourite film genre is comedy, documentary, drama or something entirely unique, the finalists of Tropfest 2017 will have you covered with at least one entry that suits your style.
To view the full list of Tropfest finalists and their entries click here.
On Saturday from 12pm, Trop Jr. showcases the short films of 16 finalists made by talented, young filmmakers aged 15 years or younger. Trop Jr. is a free event and includes entertainment, live music and of course, a screening of the 16 finalist films.
Trop Jr. prides itself as being a family friendly event with all films being specifically designed to be no longer than seven minutes and featuring the Trop Jr. TSI, which, this year, is masks. Trop Jr. is all about encouraging young people to explore their creativity and interests through the medium of film. There is no doubt that these young entrants are passionate about film and maybe we’ll see them again in a few years proudly sporting careers as the next generation of successful adult filmmakers.
For more information on Trop Jr. click here.
What to Eat
If you’re not one for packing a picnic, sample some of the fresh food and drinks available from one of the 15 food vendors at this year’s Tropfest. Operating out of food trucks situated close to the screens, there is a wide variety of tasty treats to choose from. Whether you’re into classic festival foods such as pizza and gozleme, or you’re if after something a little different, Tropfest has your appetite in mind with freshly shucked oysters to organic pumpkin and lentil dahl; you’re bound to find something that’ll tickle your tastebuds will here.
As well as the food vendors there will also be a number of retail bars spread throughout Parramatta Park. This ensures that you can kick up your heels and enjoy a beverage with friends without the fuss of eskies, wine coolers and plastic cups.
For a full list of food vendors click here.
Pick Your Patch
For those who want to guarantee themselves a good view of the screen, you can ‘Pick Your Patch’ and buy a premium viewing spot at this year’s Tropfest. By reserving a spot you’ll get to enjoy a comfortable chair, a clear view of the screen and you’ll also get exclusive access to certain bars. This year there are two reserved areas to choose from, North and South. While both sections will give you a superior view of the screen, the South Patch is located closer to the VIP area giving you the advantage of celebrity spotting and watching the ‘black carpet’ arrivals.
Tickets for Pick Your Patch start from $49. For more information and to purchase tickets click here.
How To Get There
Tropfest’s new location, Parramatta Park, is just a quick trip away. We recommend leaving your car at home and taking advantage of the public transport – also since there will be no parking at Parramatta Park. However there are multiple City of Parramatta paid parking facilities close by.
For those in Sydney’s East, Tropfest is running the Pineapple Express. These special express trains run from Central to Parramatta, departing from Platform 5. The specially branded trains will depart at 12.01 pm, 1.05pm and 2.10pm.
From Parramatta Station
Once you have arrived at Parramatta Station, exit right to Darcy St and take the Parramatta Shuttle Bus. Provided by the City of Parramatta, the shuttle bus is a FREE transport service that can pick up attendees from the Parramatta Interchange on Darcy St.
For more information on getting to Tropfest, click here.
Images courtesy of Tropfest Australia.