Tropfest is the world’s largest short film festival.
OutDoor with Rosie Mitchell
It began in 1993 as a casual short film screening for just 200 people in the Tropicana Café in Sydney, Australia — where it began as the Tropicana Short Film Festival.
Since those small beginnings, it has spread round the world, and these days in the city of its birth, attracts a crowd of over 100 000 people! The free event is broadcast live on television and webcast to viewers around Australia and the world.
Some seriously heavy weight movie stars have been and do get involved in the judging, including the likes of Russell Crowe, Nicole Kidman, Toni Collette, Geoffrey Rush, Sam Neill, Naomi Watts, Ewan McGregor and Keanu Reeves.
Tropfest has expanded to Abu Dhabi, London, Berlin, Toronto, Bangkok, Las Vegas, New York, Penang, Malaysia, New Zealand, South Africa, Kenya, and now, thanks to sponsor Australian Embassy, the Book Café hosted the first edition of Tropfest in Harare last week!
Tropfest aims to generate new film content by insisting on newly created works which must premiere at the event, must incorporate the defined Tropfest Signature Theme for that year, and can only last for seven minutes, including the running of titles and credits.
These days, Tropfest offers some seriously good prizes, including both cash and work experience with top filmmakers. Thus, it provides a launching pad and platform for budding film- makers.
Tropfest Harare drew a packed, enthusiastic crowd to Book Café, including the Australian Ambassador and his wife, and the 12 short films screened were greatly enjoyed.
These included an excellent short film by Zimbabwean Charles Mugaviri, called Introspect which was well-received.
Several of the films were side-splittingly funny, while others were by turns, poignant, sad, shocking and powerful.
At the end, all audience members were asked to be the judges, and voted for their favourite film.
Winning film was We’ve All Been There an uplifting story along the theme of, “what goes around, comes around” — a random act of kindness was repaid tenfold, without the doer of the second good deed knowing that ultimately, the man who had helped her out, earlier that day, would, via his wife, be on the receiving end of her generosity!
“Paying kindness forward” to a stranger actually became, “paying it back”.
It was amazing how engrossed one could become in a film lasting just seven minutes, and how good and detailed a story can actually be told so effectively in such a short time.
Tropfest films can be viewed on You Tube. If you missed this excellent screening, visit www.youtube.com/user/TROPFEST.
Local filmmakers were encouraged to enter Tropfest as a very effective platform via which their talent can be discovered.