The attempt by the organisers of short film festival Tropfest to raise $100,000 from the public to help find a sustainable business model has fallen massively short.
While organisers had been looking to find $100,000 to fund a “business review” the campaign managed to attract just $16,261 in donations in 20 days, meaning they will not see a penny of the money.
The festival was due to take place in December but was cancelled just days before amid accusations of financial mismanagement from the production company. It took place last Sunday, February 14, after being bailed out by sponsors CGU Insurance after an initiative by agency Cummins & Partners.
The Pozible campaign was started on January 30, but attracted pledges from just 133 people. Last week an estimated 90,000 people attended the event in Centennial Park in Sydney, with thousands more at satellite events across the country.
According to the Pozible site the funds raised would have been: “Used to cover the cost of the strategic review, governance review, some vital audience research and focus groups and developing a business model that is genuinely sustainable.
“We need to find new partners and new ways of funding what we do best while remaining true to our values of inclusivity and accessibility.”
Before last week’s festival founder John Polson had said new partners would be announced last week, although no announcement has materialised.
Suppliers left out of pocket after the cancellation of the December event were also in discussions last week about taking legal action against the former management company over $170,000 worth of debt.
The festival – celebrating short films – began in 1993 as a small event held at Darlinghurst’s Tropicana Cafe.
It grew to a huge public event held at The Domain in Sydney attending by thousands of film lovers, and more recently moved to Centennial Park. It also expanded to more than ten cities globally.
The contest – themed on a single word each year – provided a major platform for budding filmmakers looking to break through. This year’s word was “card” with the top prize won by animated film Shiny.
Tropfest has been contacted for comment.