Tropfest had its humble origins in Australia with creator/movie director, John Polson, and was an unprecedented success- attracting nearly 150,000 people. On this evening in the Big Apple, the energy was indeed high and there was high octane music and food to boot. There were in attendance about 8,000 attendees. In addition, Tropfest was also broadcast live via satellite in Toronto, Canada.
Tropfest was located at the same river site during the spring Tribeca Drive In at the Winter Garden (World Financial Center). One could absorb in the melodious sounds of Australian rockers Second Dan, MA Band- Haunt and NYC’s own DJ Shorty. There were giveaways, plenty of photo ops, and just good plain ole fun. It all began at 5pm, when the bands took stage and host/comedian Joe DeRosa catapulted us into the pre-show.
At dusk, the 16 films were presented from four countries on an inflatable 48’ x 26’ screen, where each film was under 7 minutes long. TSI or Tropfest Signature Item is the concept in which each film must include some manner shape or form in their productions. Every year the TSI item to be included changes, so it was a delight to view how each filmmaker took on this challenge. The enjoyment amongst the audience was to be the first one to spot the TSI. This made the event so much more interesting with audience participation so to speak. This years concept was- “slice”.
Subject matter for the 16 competitors included a documentary about falconry at JFK Airport, animation about a man down on his luck and being late for an interview, and a comedy about a woman being verbally harassed at a picnic. The winner of the first Nokia NSeries “Slice of Life” contest, was showcased. The competition had the general public submit 30-second cell videos.
The Tropfest jury included: Josh Lucas (Poseidon), Australian actress Rose Byrne (Troy), actor Griffin Dunne (The Accidental Husband), last year’s Tropfest winner- Matthew Bonifacio and Academy Award-nominated director Bennett Miller (Capote) who presented the Target Filmmaker Award. Second and Third Prize, Best Actress, and Best Actor were also presented. Robert DeNiro and was also amongst the crowd.
A cash prize of $10,000 from Target and a trip for two to Australia was given to Belinda King from Marrickville, Australia for her hilarious film- The Picnic. The Tropfest audience award was then determined at the end of the screenings by black Target paddles for the viewers to vote for their favorite. Tom McCarthy presented the winner of this award to Stephen Franciosa Jr for his film- Super Slice, about a superhero that rights the wrongs with pizza!
Photos by: Tobe Roberts