Streaming service Presto offers to salvage Tropfest after sponsors left ‘disappointed’

Screen Shot 2015-11-12 at 10.20.07 amAustralian streaming service Presto has thrown a lifeline to the disappointed Tropfest finalists offering to showcase their films on its platform, Mumbrella can reveal.

The offer from the Foxtel and Seven West Media-owned platform comes as major sponsors including Qantas, Somersby Cider, Uber and Nova Entertainment, have expressed their “surprise” and “disappointment” with the sudden axing of Australia’s best known public film festival.

Privately many corporate sponsors and partners are understood to be annoyed at the lack of consultation before the event’s axing less than a month before it was set to take place, with festival founder John Polson denouncing the “terrible and irresponsible mismanagement” which he claimed had caused it.

However this morning Presto told Mumbrella in a statement: “We’re certainly disappointed that such an iconic and popular event like Tropfest has been cancelled; however, we are currently exploring the possibility of showcasing the finalists’ films.

“We would be happy to make Presto available as a place for viewers to see these creative works and are exploring options with the relevant parties.”

It is unclear whether that would fly with broadcast partner SBS which told Mumbrella this morning: “As the broadcast partner for the past few years SBS has been proud to offer a platform to showcase this talent and we are incredibly disappointed by this news.

“We are absorbing this announcement and looking at what it means for SBS.”

Screen Shot 2015-11-12 at 10.19.48 am

Presenter Marc Fennell aired his frustration on last year’s event on Instagram

Last year the event underdelivered for partners after massive rainstorms caused much of the crowd to leave early.

All of the sponsors Mumbrella spoke to this morning said they were disappointed with the decision to axe the event, but many indicated they would still keen to be involved with the event were it to go ahead next year.

“We were surprised and disappointed that Tropfest won’t be going ahead this year. It’s an important outlet for budding film makers that we’ve been proud to support,” said a spokesman for major partner Qantas.

Fellow major partner Nova said in a statement: “We are disappointed that Tropfest 2015 will not be held this year but we will continue to partner with great Sydney events and support creativity across all platforms.”

Meanwhile tourism body Destination NSW said it would work with the organisers to help revive the event.

“For several years, Destination NSW has been a Tropfest strategic partner,” said the Destination NSW spokesman. “We were disappointed to hear of the event cancellation and hope the organisers can stage the event again soon.”

Corporate sponsors Uber and Somersby also expressed their disappointment.

“Somersby Cider sponsored Tropfest last year and we were planning to continue our association, so we are disappointed to hear that such a long running event has been cancelled,” said an Asahi Beverages spokesperson.

“We were excited to be the festival’s first ridesharing partner and are disappointed that such a great event has been cancelled this year. We look forward to seeing Tropfest back in the future,” said an Uber spokesperson.

In the announcement, Tropfest’s founder Polson pleaded with sponsors to “bear with us”, while acknowledging the decision to cancel the event was a “disaster”.

“I ask all of Tropfest’s many supporters to bear with us while we figure out how we can rebound from this disaster,” asked Polson. “Now more than ever this unique Australian cultural event needs your patience and support.”

Nic Christensen 



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