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  • Written by Amber Forrest-Bisley


The world’s largest short film festival makes a Valentine’s Day comeback thanks to CGU Insurance


Tropfest today announced it has received a lifeline from CGU Insurance.  There was national outcry when the iconic event was cancelled earlier this year, but CGU’s support will now enable the Festival to be staged on Sunday 14 February 2016 in Centennial Parklands, Sydney.


More than 1.6 million people have attended a Tropfest event since it was established in 1993 by Founder and Festival Director, John Polson. The event today attracts a live national audience of around 150,000 and draws in hundreds of thousands more via the live TV broadcast.


Polson said the outpouring of support received in recent weeks has been overwhelming. “It’s incredibly encouraging to see that the Australian public and corporate community really want to see Tropfest return.”


“As a free, outdoor event, Tropfest makes short film accessible to all. There's nothing else quite like it and I think that's what people love,” he continued. “Thanks to the support given by CGU Insurance, we’re now able to restore Tropfest for the filmmakers whose work was put on hold, for our fans and of course for the suppliers and partners who all give so much to make the world’s largest short film festival a reality. It’s the comeback story of the decade.”


Ben Bessell, Commercial Insurance Chief Executive for IAG, which owns the CGU business, said he was delighted to support this iconic event.


“Tropfest is a great festival, providing unique platforms for talented filmmakers through its events and initiatives, and we are excited to be able to help them get back on their feet,” Mr Bessell said.


“Supporting this fantastic cultural event is about creating a renewed opportunity for Tropfest and all those small businesses associated with the event to continue to thrive and get some business done.”


“It’s also about supporting the wider community who are avid fans of film and entertainment and give them an opportunity to come along and enjoy a free cultural event.”


Tropfest has been an important event on Australia’s national calendar for 23 years and has spread globally to New Zealand, South East Asia, New York, the Middle East and elsewhere.


The Tropfest finalist films will premiere live in Sydney’s Centennial Parklands on Valentine’s Day, Sunday February 14, and will also be broadcast free-to-air from 9pm on SBS 2.


Polson also confirmed that Trop Jr, the Festival’s competition for filmmakers aged 15 and under, will also go ahead on Sunday February 14, screening ahead of the sixteen Tropfest finalist films.


In addition to new partner CGU Insurance, Tropfest is supported by the NSW Government through its tourism and major events agency Destination NSW and Screen NSW; as well as returning major partners Qantas, Nikon, Centennial Parklands, SBS 2, Screen Australia and Nova 96.9.



Tropfest reveals finalist flush for New Date on 14 February 2016


All the cards (Tropfest Signature Item) are on the table for Tropfest 2016; with stories about an Australian ex World Champion boxer battling the bottle, unlikely Taylor Swift fans, and a best friend with a dangerous secret, amongst the 16 finalist films.


Thanks to support from business insurance company CGU, the world’s largest short film festival will return on Sunday 14 February 2016, at Sydney’s Centennial Parklands.


Tropfest Founder and Director John Polson said: “This is a line up quite unlike any other screened at Tropfest, with documentaries, mockumentaries and animations making up more than half of the finalist films. We are so incredibly excited that audiences will now get to see the work of these talented filmmakers live at Tropfest.”


“The finalists this year have really brought film back to its core element, the art of storytelling.  We have 16 very unique films to present to thousands of Tropfest fans around Australia that will have them on the edge of their picnic rugs.”


“For Tropfest, this is the comeback of the decade, and we’re so thrilled to be able to share it with Trop fans, and our finalist filmmakers, as we continue to play a part in bringing some of the most talented and creative storytellers to the stage, for a long time to come,” Polson said.


Next February’s Trop-goers can expect documentaries that provide a window into the past; including iconic Aussie band, Radio Birdman, recounting their short but explosive time in the 1970’s Sydney punk rock scene. 


As well as a true tale from ex World Champion boxer, Jeff Harding, as he reflects on his career, and the problems faced after folding from the game.


Other finalist films look at the challenges that come with the cards life deals us. A deaf woman develops a passion for painting and finds solace in her art, and an autistic boy tells of his love for acting and his fascination with Back to The Future.


The animation genre is also strong; from a slapstick comedy about a piñata, to an action packed stop motion of a damsel in distress, and the heartfelt tale of a lonely Tajikistani whose dog gets sent to space.


Keep your eyes peeled for singer Natalie Bassingthwaite as a supportive wife to a troubled man; Catherine Mack (Wonderland, Home & Away) and Rick Donald (House Husbands) as wannabe criminals. Comedy trio Colin Lane, David Collins and Craig Anderson also form a secret club of ‘Tay Men’.


Tropfest is a festival born of filmmakers and those who love to see a good story unfold. From humble beginnings at the Tropicana Café in Sydney’s Darlinghurst in 1993, an eager crowd of 200 showed up to watch a short film screening organised by Tropfest founder John Polson.


Twenty-three years on, the event attracts a live national audience of around 150,000 today, and draws in hundreds of thousands more via the exclusive SBS2 TV broadcast.  Tropfest has also grown internationally with standalone competitions in New Zealand, South East Asia, New York, the Middle East and elsewhere.


Tropfest films have incorporated this year’s Tropfest Signature Item (TSI), ‘CARD’ into their work.


In addition to new partner CGU Insurance, Tropfest is supported by the NSW Government through its tourism and major events agency Destination NSW and Screen NSW; as well as returning major partners Qantas, Nikon, Centennial Parklands, SBS 2, Screen Australia, and Nova 96.9.


Visit www.tropfest.com/au for festival details, screening venues and regular updates on all things Trop!

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