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"I wanted to see a character like I once felt - not good for anything, but with a desire to be noticed. She doesn't have a talent for anything except being herself. And I put a value on that. "  -P.J. Hogan, on his film Muriel's Wedding
 The World of Film in Australia - on the Internet Updated Monday June 15, 2020 

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The 16 Tropfest finalists whose short films will screen on Sunday December 8, 2013 , were announced on November 19. With its signature item of ‘Change’, the films range from comedies, thrillers, dramas, documentaries and mockumentaries.

Tropfest Founder and Director, John Polson, says: “We are thrilled by the strength, creativity and originality of the films submitted. The ideas, influences and filmmaking approaches are never the same – and that’s been no different this time around,”

“Considering that the Festival was last held in February this year, it has been great to see that many filmmakers still have the same passion, hunger and interest in showcasing their work through our platform. It’s so fantastic to see that short film is alive and kicking in Australia and around the world.”  

Almost half of all entries received for December 2013 were made entirely on DSLR cameras, being part of an increasing trend within the industry, says Tropfest Film and Entries Manager, Henry Kalaf.

In addition to receiving international and industry exposure, the lucky Tropfest winner will take home a new Toyota Corolla Levin ZR; a Nikon D800 DSLR and $2,000 RRP worth of Nikon lenses; $10,000 courtesy of Kennedy Miller Mitchell; and a trip to Los Angeles to meet some top industry executives, thanks to Motion Picture Association and Australian Screen Association.

These aren’t the only prizes up for grabs – the winner of the Nikon DSLR Film Category will receive a Nikon D610 as well as $3,000 RRP worth of Nikkor lenses and accessories.

Prior to the big awards announcements on December 8, finalists will walk the red carpet and have their films judged by a panel of celebrities and industry heavyweights. with past judges including Nicole Kidman, Ewan McGregor, Cate Blanchett,  Will Smith, Salma Hayek and Sam Worthington, among others.


Title: Sorry Baby
Finalists: Spencer and Lloyd Harvey
Location: NSW
Filmmaker suburb: Balgowlah

Synopsis: A bound and gagged debt collector is placed in the middle of a domestic dispute between two dangerous women.

About the finalists and the film:
Spencer and Lloyd are a sister/brother writer and director duo born in Sydney , Australia . The pair have taken from pen to screen a myriad of short films that have achieved multiple awards and international and national festival screenings.

The whole film was made for the cost of a plastic tube, a funnel and a pizza. Both leads, Sheridan Harbridge and Beth Aubrey, are NIDA graduates and are well known for their work on stage and screen.

Title: L.O.V.E Insurance for the Heart
Rachel Lane
Location: NSW
Filmmaker suburb: Clovelly

Synopsis: Ever wished you could get a prospective lover checked out before you go out with them? Well now you can. Just one phone call to L.O.V.E Inspections will sort that out for you and avoid any unnecessary heartache down the track.

About the finalists and the film:
The film was inspired whilst Rachel was helping a friend shop for a new car. They had both just come out of relationships and after booking an N.R.M.A inspection on a great looking car to find out it was in fact a lemon, thought it’d be great to get such an inspection on prospective lovers.

The film features Katherine Hicks (‘Winners & Losers,’ ‘Rescue Ops’), Stevie Rodgers (‘The Bank,’ ‘Paper Giants’), and Gigi Edgley (‘Farscape,’ ‘Rescue Ops’). Rachel has worked at Channel 7 on and off since 1996, having worked on ‘Home & Away,’ ‘All Saints’ and more recently producing ‘Sydney Weekender.’

Title: Stew
Finalists: Steven Woodburn
Location: NSW
Filmmaker suburb: Bellevue Hill

Synopsis: Bill has a repressed memory. A memory that lays forgotten, till one day, when Bill least expects it, the memory is triggered back to life, immediately thrusting Bill back into his childhood to publicly relive the horrifying experience all over again!

About the finalists and the film:
Steven grew up in the Central West of NSW, but on finishing high school, quickly packed his bags and headed for the bright lights of Sydney . After studying drama, Steven eventually moved into directing and started up Day One Films. He has since written and directed four short films which have been shown at festivals throughout Australia .

‘Stew’ was originally intended for Tropfest 2012, but one week before shooting, the team lost two of their jet crew to other jobs, the free camera hire they were promised was hired out to someone else, and they felt as if everything was falling apart. However, it worked out for the best, as the extra time meant that the team could do more with the film.

Title: Makeover
Finalists: Don Percy
Location: VIC
Filmmaker suburb: Highett

Synopsis: Horrie, a lonely widower, misses his wife and decides it’s time to start dating again. He finds the perfect woman via a singles magazine, but before they meet, undertakes an elaborate and unconventional makeover. Can he keep up the façade, or will he be found out?

About the finalists and the film:

Australian born Don Percy began shooting films at the age of 10. He graduated from the Swinburne Film and Television School in 1985, and now owns and runs Adonis Films, continuing to direct TVC’s, corporates, music videos and shorts.

Lead actor, Tom Travers, has spent his life on stage, has worked in film, and appeared on Australian television since its beginning. Recent television credits include ‘Woodley,’ ‘The Slap,’ ‘Rush’ and ‘Bed of Roses.’

The team behind ‘Makeover’ enjoy stories told through imagery, and so created the short as a silent film with a wonderful soundtrack, featuring music by Georges Bizet.

Title: Bamboozled
Finalists: Matt Hardie
Location: NSW
Filmmaker suburb: Redfern

Synopsis: Out of the blue, Pete is approached by Harry. Harry seems to know everything about Pete but Pete can’t remember Harry. Harry explains that he is actually Helen, Pete’s old girlfriend and has since had a sex change. After initial hesitation, Pete agrees to go for a drink with Harry to catch up on old times and ends up having a night he’ll never forget…

About the finalists and the film:
Originally from WA, Matt moved to Sydney in 2006 to attend the acting course at NIDA. Since graduating, Matt has appeared as an actor in a number of roles in theatre, film and television. Last year Matt wrote and directed ‘Let It Rain,’ which won the DSLR category at Tropfest 2012. The success of the film has inspired Matt to pursue his writing and directing, as well as his acting.

This is Aaron Tsindos' second Tropfest film. He was last seen playing Syphilis in ‘The Unwanted Friend.’ Aaron has also performed with theatre companies such as STC , Bell Shakespeare. This is Aaron's third time playing a woman and his second film that includes him topless in bed with another man.

Title: Ariel
Finalists: Claude Gonzalez
Location: NSW
Filmmaker suburb: Lilyfield

Synopsis: A man works day in and day out, each day is the same, until one day he must take on an apprentice and soon his world is changed forever.

About the finalists and the film:
Director/producer, Claude Gonzalez, has worked in film and TV for a number of years, having made commercials, trailers, documentaries and television programs for SBS and the ABC.

The film was inspired by Claude’s father who worked two jobs so he and his brother could study. As well as his passion for filmmaking, Claude’s interests include reading, writing, drawing and photography.

Title: Off the Meter
Finalists: Carl Sorheim
Location: VIC
Filmmaker suburb: St Kilda

Synopsis: Cab driver Daniel Folkmover has a heart of gold, dad jokes aplenty and a slightly shady operation on the side…

About the finalists and the film:
Director, writer and actor Carl has had a keen interest in film, performance and writing as far back as he can recall. He moved from Norway to Australia to study theatre in 2003, and quickly fell in love with the beauty and diversity of his new home country.

Off The Meter began as an idea about a human trafficker who loved his job too much. Carl wanted to open up a healthy debate about attitudes towards immigration; illegal or otherwise.

Title: Darkness Comes
Finalists: John Marsh
Location: NSW
Filmmaker suburb: Empire Bay

Synopsis: Racing desperately against the setting of the sun as if pursued by the very devil, a man sprints through a barren field seeking the safe haven of a derelict farmhouse. What is he afraid of and what happens when DARKNESS COMES?

About the finalists and the film:
John’s directorial debut ‘Happenstance’ was an award-winning finalist at Tropfest in 2010. He recently co-founded the production company Idea Garage with long-time collaborator and friend Dane Hallett. ‘Darkness Comes’ is the first collaboration from their stables.

‘Darkness Comes’ was shot in an abandoned, overgrown farmhouse a near seven-hour drive inland from Sydney, in the country town of Binya, just outside of Griffith. ‘Darkness Comes’ is Manly winger, Dave ‘Wolfman’ Williams’ dramatic acting debut.

Title: Charades
Finalists: Julian Lucas
Location: VIC

Filmmaker suburb: Prahran

Synopsis: We follow an amateur charades team as they strive to achieve success at the National Championships. The team has worked tirelessly up until this point, and they expect nothing less than victory. Everything is going exactly to plan, but even the perfect preparation doesn’t ensure success in what lies ahead.

About the finalists and the film:
Julian is a freelance filmmaker from Melbourne , music videos and comedy being his true passions. The filmmaking lifestyle suits him perfectly. People have told him that working from home is something that 60 year olds do, but he’s pretty content paving his own way in life.

Having worked in advertising for six years, this is producer Jack White’s first short film. A number of hearing impaired people were involved in the film, which proved to be challenging and rewarding, adding another layer to the film.

Title: Coping
Finalists: Kaiya Jones
Location: VIC
Filmmaker suburb: Nunawading

Synopsis: Three young and recently orphaned kids move in with their estranged uncle. In this tense and unusual situation, we see how each individual deals with the death, and how, in order for them to move on, a new family must form.

About the finalists and the film:

Kaiya started her acting career when she was 10 years old, with roles in ‘The Saddle Club,’ ‘Neighbours’ and a number of short films. Making her own shorts was something that always impassioned her, but never quite knew how to take it to the next level. Producer Julian Costanzo helped manifest her idea and vision to create ‘Coping.’

The film features well-known Australian actors Ditch Davey and Morgan Baker.

Title: Sine
Finalists: Adrian Cabrie
Location: VIC
Filmmaker suburb: Darley

Synopsis: Out of jail, with nothing to lose, Adam tries to rob a Milk Bar, but when he bumps into his ex-girlfriend, the robbery takes a turn for the worse.

About the finalists and the film:
Adrian is forever caught between two passions – music and film. He has written, directed and edited over 30 short films. His works have been shown at many festivals over the years. In 2004 he formed Truncated Pictures with his brother Michel.

Lead actor, Kristin Holland appears regularly on television and film in all manner of guises, including the sinister, low-rent figure of ex-con, Pete Ferguson on ‘Neighbours.’

‘Sine’ took one day to write, one day to script edit, one day to rehearse, one day to shoot, one day to edit, one day to sound mix and one day to recover.

Title: Still Life
Finalists: Martin Sharpe
Location: VIC
Filmmaker suburb: Nunawading

Synopsis: A bored and weary security guard does his nightly rounds of a dark and deserted art gallery, but things are about to get a whole lot more bizarre.

About the finalists and the film:
Passionate about films since being awestruck by ‘ Jurassic Park ’ at 11, Martin began to act, write and direct. His directorial short film debut, ‘The Crimson Room’ starring Ashleigh Zukerman went on to screen at over 30 international festivals.

Martin is inspired by film, theatre, books, restaurants and extreme sport.

Title: Revive
Finalists: Ruben Pracas
Location: WA
Filmmaker suburb: Cooloongup
Synopsis: A young businessman decides to take it upon himself to be the change he wishes to see in the world – one crazy costume at a time.

About the finalists and the film:
After graduating university in 2011 with his short film ‘The Offertory,’ Ruben hit the ground running applying for small funding initiatives for film and television. Although he received funding for a television series and short film, Ruben realised he had no on-set experience, and so spent the better half of 2013 volunteering on “bigger shoots” to acquire the skills necessary to create ‘Revive.’

Chae Ryan is a screenwriter and filmmaker from WA. He began his filmmaking career by collaborating with Ruben who is a long-time childhood friend. ‘Revive’ is his narrative screenwriting debut.

Title: Truth Is...
Finalists: Ben Davies
Location: NSW
Filmmaker suburb: Chippendale

Synopsis: A huge bikie war – 14 dead and counting – so how did it start? The police, the public, and the media all claim to know the real story, but truth is… even the bikies pulling the triggers have got it all wrong. Finally the truth, told by the man who lit the match under this powder keg.

About the finalists and the film:
Ben is a TV producer who makes factual TV programs and documentaries. He is both the creator and series producer of the international hit TV series ‘Bondi Rescue.’ Producer Conor Reid has worked professionally in the Film and Television industry for over a decade. Between 1st Assistant Directing and Art Department , he’s worked on various productions including Bollywood and Chinese feature films, high-end commercials in Los Angeles , and Australian dramas.

Title: The Squirrel King
Finalists: Dimitri Ellerington
Location: NSW
Filmmaker suburb: Bondi

Synopsis: Meet New York royalty: street photographer Ricky Powell. Join us as we shamble through the West Village while “The Funky Uncle” tells it like it is about ladies, cornballs and finding your own flavour.

About the finalists and the film:
‘The Squirrel King’ was filmed in New York and edited on Dimitri’s flight home to Australia , taking a total of a week to create.

After slumming his way through art college, Dimitri was lucky enough to find himself as the production runner on the first ‘Babe’ feature. For him, it was a profound experience and inspired him to pursue a career in film and television.

Title: Honi Soit Qui Mal Y Pense
Finalists: Tom Abood
Location: NSW
Filmmaker suburb: Naremburn

Synopsis: Told through narration of a letter to his mother, we follow an unnamed soldier on an eight-month deployment. We gain insight into the average young soldier’s thoughts and the hard lessons they learn whilst fighting for their country.

About the finalists and the film:
Tom first started making films at the age of thirteen, filming his friends skateboarding and having film premieres his room. He knew from that age that this is what he wanted to do.

At the age of eighteen, Tom joined the Australian Army as part of the gap year program and was inspired by the stories he heard from veteran diggers. Most of the footage used in ‘Honi Soit Qui Mal Y Pense’ was gathered from soldiers in Afghanistan

 Published November 19, 2013

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