Tropfest Finalists Announced For 2012

Fifteen filmmakers have been shortlisted for the country’s biggest short film festival...

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The Tropfest and Trop Jr finalists for 2012 were revealed on Friday February 3 at the Sydney Opera House. This year marks the 20th anniversary of the festival, which had its origins as a small event at the Tropicana Cafe in Darlinghurst.

Michael Laverty, the Managing Director of Tropfest, spoke proudly of the event's longevity. "We're so delighted that in 2012 we are here," he says. "We've seen many filmmakers come from our ranks, and realise their dreams to become filmmakers in their own right, both recognised in Australia and internationally. What Tropfest does is literally provide a platform for those films and their stories to be told, not only here in Australia, but more and more internationally."

This international impact can be seen through one of the finalists in Tropfest's youth competition - 15-year-old Marcos Krivocapich from Argentina is the first international finalist in Trop Jr with his film My First Pet.

Arts and Major Events Minister, George Souris, was clear about the impact of the event on filmmakers. "To be a finalist in Tropfest is a real honour," Mr Souris says. "It is a highly sought after position and means you're well on your way in the film business."

16-year-old Eva Lazzaro is one of the youngest finalists ever to reach the Tropfest shortlist. She also features in fellow finalist Damian McLindon's film Jack and Lily. Her own film, Alice's Baby, tells the story of a young girl coping with her mother's miscarriage. She says that her first film is largely based on her own personal experience.

"Going deeper into the material, a lot of it is about young children, or especially me when I was younger," Lazzaro tells us. "The way I coped with things was by making something."

Lazzaro is ecstatic that her work has made it to the finals. "I'd like people to see it, and for it to resonate with them in some way, but I have no expectations aside from that," she says.

Brothers Scott and Brent Holgate have also made it to the finals with their joint project Matchbox Brothers. The film follows the relationship of brothers at a young age, and how they can switch from being the best of mates to sworn enemies in a matter of seconds.

"The story is not actually our story," Scott reveals to us. "It's a story that a friend had told me many years ago, and in telling me his story, I think he was trying to justify to himself why he had done those horrible things to his brother. And it just made me think about my childhood. There really is no justification for why we behave like that; it's really just part of being a brother and part of growing up."

Despite the antagonistic story of the film, the brothers have no such issues off-camera. "We know each other's strengths and weaknesses. And we only had a crew of two people, so if we fought, and one of us left, the film wouldn't get made. Production would cease. It has to work, basically," Brent laughs.

Other finalists include Marie Patane with How Many More Doctors Does it Take to Change a Light Bulb?, a sequel to her film How Many Doctors Does it Take to Change a Light Bulb? which took out Best Comedy in 2006's Tropfest. Previous Tropfest finalist Matilda Brown (daughter of Aussie power couple Bryan Brown and Rachel Ward), and an actress who has scored roles in such television series as Underbelly, Offspring and Rake, has also been shortlisted for her short One Thing.

Tropfest will run from February 17-19. For more information on the festivities or to view the full list of finalists, head here. The 16th Tropfest finalist will be decided by the public through Tropfest's YouTube channel where ten films are up for selection.

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