Tropfest is Australia’s most prestigious short film festival and one of its most iconic cultural events. It is also the largest short film festival in the world. At home, Tropfest is recognised for its enormous contribution to the development of the Australian film industry by providing unique platforms for emerging filmmakers through its events and initiatives, and new and expanded audiences for their work.
John Polson started the ‘Tropicana Short Film Festival’ [as it was originally known] as an informal short film screening for cast, crew and friends at Tropicana Caffe in Sydney’s Darlinghurst. More than 200 people showed up for that first screening. Inspired by the turn out, John decided that a full-fledged short film festival was the next step. Tropfest in Australia attracts a live national audience of more than 150,000 people on a single night. The event is hosted at Sydney’s Domain in the Royal Botanic Gardens, with live satellite links to outdoor locations in Melbourne, Canberra, Perth, Brisbane, Hobart, Adelaide and Surfer’s Paradise.
The annual short film competition is open to anyone who wishes to enter – regardless of their background or experience. 16 Finalists are selected from an entry pool of an average 650 annual entries and compete for more than $150,000 in prizes. Tropfest films are unique in that they have all been made specifically for Tropfest. The will premiere at Tropfest and include the Tropfest Signature Item (or TSI), which changes each year.