Still reeling from the sudden cancellation of its iconic short film festival last year, Tropfest is looking to re-engage fans with the launch of a new portal that allows audiences to view the back-catalogue of previously submitted entries at any time, online.
The festival, to be held in Sydney and at satellite venues around the country was cancelled just days after founder John Polson revealed that the event had suffered catastrophic financial mismanagement.
The news caused an outpouring of concern from fans concerned about the future of the event and its potential loss as an incubator of domestic film talent.
However, some filmmakers welcomed the event’s closure, saying it had not been good for the industry.
The NSW Department of Fair Trading has questioned Tropfest’s organisers over the status of entry fees.
Insurer GCU stepped in to sponsor the revitalised festival, which will now take place this Sunday, February 14.
Tropfest has also launched a campaign on crowd-sourcing site Pozible to raise monies to guarantee the future of the festival.
To date the online campaign has raised $15,000 of its targeted $100,000 from 117 supporters with nine days to go before the funding drive closes.
The Tropfest Watch website, created by Lash Creative, is aimed at drawing together Tropfest’s global audience through a single space to build greater audience engagement on a year-round basis.
Tropfest Watch is a natural extension of the Tropfest brand, Polson said. “What Lash has done is create a curated online space where short film dominates,” said Polson.
“It’s a huge thing for Tropfest to be able to offer our filmmaking community even more exposure to their work. Tropfest is about celebrating storytelling, and what ‘Watch’ does is embrace that ideology and take it to even greater heights.”
Alicent Platenkamp, client services director at Lash, said the announcement the festival had been rescued came as a huge relief, with work beginning to immediately build ‘Watch’.
“The day that we got the call that Tropfest is back on, we had the biggest smiles on our faces and everyone in the agency was brimming with relief and happiness,” Patenkamp said.