The 16 Finalists and their films competing for over $50,000 in prizes at Tropfest

Home » The 16 Finalists and their films competing for over $50,000 in prizes at Tropfest

Tropfest Australia, supported by foundation partner CGU Insurance will see 16 finalist films representing a multitude of storytelling focused on diverse issues and peoples tomorrow.   From psychological thrillers to captivating true stories and heartfelt family dramas, the films will premiere on Saturday 9 February 2019 to thousands of Tropfans at Parramatta Park before a panel announces the winner of this year’s prize.

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Papparazzi . Congrats to the winners! The show went on despite a lashing from the storm the night before damaging the main screen, so after a tiny location change and people working around the clock to save the day, the night was a total success! For the first time in the event’s 27-year history, audiences from around the globe will be able to watch all 16 finalist films from the comfort of their own homes, exclusively on Facebook Watch. . . The show, Tropfest All Access presented by @cguinsurance , will feature the winners’ announcement, exclusive footage from throughout the night, including the juror’s deliberations and interviews with celebrities. Airing live on the Tropfest Facebook page, . . Tropfest All Access will be hosted by Australia’s most fabulous film-geek Maude Garrett and will be broadcast TODAY at 4pm!!! . . . . 🎵 Composed, arranged and performed by EmanMusic © 2017 emanmusic #tropfest #tropfest2019 #tropfestjr #independentfilm #independentfilmmaker #movienight #movies #actor #sydneyactor #screenaustralia #parramattapark #filmfestival #sydneyyouth #screening #westernsydney #fcba #eventcinemas #fitfam #eventcinemaparramatta #parramattapark #indiegogo #whatsonsydney #cityofparramatta #parramattariver #discoverparramatta #redcarpet #moviepremiere #cguinsurance #westernsydneyuniversity #ericbana #queerscreen

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The winner of Tropfest 2019 will be awarded:
– a shiny new Equinox LS+ valued at $32,000 thanks to Holden;
– a $10,000 cash prize courtesy of Kennedy Miller Mitchell;
– a $500 Camera Hire voucher;
– a 12 month Gold Pass courtesy of Event Cinemas; and
– a Professional Subscription to Digiital Pigeon

“I’m absolutely thrilled to see such a wonderful mix of finalists,” said Founder John Polson. “These 16 films form a vibrant mix of stories and reflect a true cross-section of our collective identities – including actors with disability, seniors and the LGBTQI community.   There are also stories on mental health, the pressures of social media and family relationships.”

Tropfest Australia 2019 will give a voice and visibility to a variety of minorities in the community.

A lovestruck queer teen racks up a hefty bill courting a cute shop girl in Crush, it appears Lizzy has an obsession with novelty candles. But the truth is her “burning” desire isn’t for candles, it’s for the girl selling them.  It’s a comedic exploration of self identity and infatuation. photo 5 img_4797Finalist: Leela Varghese, 27 – Adelaide, SA (Comedy)
Growing up Lebanese/Indian and queer, director Leela was inspired to create the film to see more diverse representation on screen.  Having worked as a presenter on Channel 10’s, Totally Wild, Varghese also stars as the protagonists’s best friend.   There was also a last minute cancellation of film locations after the host learned it was a queer love story.

Comican’t features a cast comprised of actors with disability.  It tells the tale of three friends and their epic adventure across the city on  a mission to win the best dressed competition. photo 5 img_9826Finalist: Rory Kelly, 31 –  Melbourne, VIC  (Comedy)
Rory has been collaborating with the Rollercoaster Theatre Company of performers with disabilities since the beginning of 2018;

Fascinating true stories include: The Jinja Assassin, stepping into the life of Alex Roberts – a leading air guitar world champion by night, and Perth high school drama teacher by day.   It follows the journey of Alex Roberts who travels from Perth to Melbourne before competing in the 2018 Air Guitar World Championships in Finland. jinja assasin.001Finalist: Will Faulkner, Nathan Keane, Matt Henry, 31 –  Lathlain, Perth, WA (Documentary, Comedy) 

Allie, about the friendship between a car enthusiast and a young girl with disability;

and a Bondi boxer reflects on mental health as he prepares for his last match in The Last Fight. photo 2 _dsc6730
Finalist: Edward Copestick, 39 /  Janyon Bannoff, 56 – Bondi, NSW (Documentary, Mental Health, Sport)

headshot-2f1d98aa06-headshot.jpgEdward and Janyon felt it was important to work on a mental health-themed project after hearing a shocking statistics on the high rate of suicide worldwide. The directors met the subject Dennis at Maydad Ronan’s Bondi Boxing Gym in the lead up to his last professional fight.  Dennis wanted to share his story of boxing helping his mental health, and training generally – staying fit but also creating supportive social relationships and communities;

In true Trop fashion, comedies come equal parts hilarious, clever and twisted. Indigenous actor Ben Mortley (McLeod’s Daughters) stars in Barry, about two hearse drivers inventing a heroic backstory for their deceased passenger and shot entirely in black and white; photo 8 barry_behind_the_scenes_hearse Finalist: Emma Vickery, 33 –  Freemantle, WA (Comedy)

a father interrogates four boys with the cringiest of dad jokes after his daughter falls pregnant to one of them in Dad to the Bone; photo-5-12_pc4a4470.jpg
Finalist: Simon Fowler, 30 –  Annandale, Sydney (Comedy)
Director Simon was a 2018 Tropfest finalist for Combination Fried Rice;

and social media’s take over of the world is explored with shocking results in clay-mation The Validation of Violet Worth.Finalist: photo 2 still02_violet_taking_selfie
Jayce White, 47 – Mt Annan, NSW (Animation) headshot bbc7d2bf10-headshot

Director Jayce White won Best Comedy at Tropfest 2007 for his live-action short Between the Flags and his films have screened at The Commonwealth Film Festival and The Australian Effects and Animation Festival;


In Can You Hear Me?, a grandmother gets a hearing aid for the first time, after years of being hearing impaired.  When her devious family arrive at her place for dinner, she quickly realises some things are better left unheard. and gives them their hilarious come-uppance, photo 6 film_stills.03_family Finalist: Rama Nicholas, Adam McKenzie, 40 – Melbourne, VIC (Dark Comedy) rama nicholas & adam mckenzie dir can you hear me?headshot bac15b6ec9-headshot

From husband-and-wife directorial duo Rama Nicholas and Adam McKenzie, it’s a dark comedy to show how elderly Australians are often forgotten or disregarded.

The movie was inspired by imagining stories around who the mystery winner was of the $55 million winning lottery ticket in 2018;

while Notes to Salma, Tropfest’s own version of The Notebook shows a husband’s dedication to his wife with dementia. photo 7 notes_to_salma_still07Finalist: Australian director Michael Noonan, 46 – Monterrey, Mexico (Drama)
headshot-fdf2ce0353-headshot.jpgTropfest’s very own take on The Notebook, it’s about long lasting love in the face of crippling illness (Parkinson’s and dementia).  Michael is a  six-time Tropfest finalist – most recently in 2017 and Winner of IF Award for Best Australian Documentary for his film Unlikely Travelers;

Australian screen star Kym Valentine (Neighbours) also features in tender family drama Treetment, where a  mother and daughter bond is tested when a simple drive across town escalates into a wildfire argument. photo-3-treetment_film_still_12-e1548768656620.jpgFinalist: Matt Holcomb, 42 –  St. Kilda, VIC (Drama) 
Directed by AACTA Award-nominated filmmaker, Matt Holcomb; it’s based on real events and is a touching drama about a powerful mother-daughter bond;

Safe Space focuses on four strangers. A darkened room.  Sh*t gets weird.
Finalist: Indianna Bell, 22 Josiah Allen – Adelaide, SA  (Psychological Thriller)

The Fringe Dwellerphoto-6-blue1686.jpgFinalist: Leah Annetta, Reuben Street, 43 – Coburg, Melbourne VIC  (Drama)A teenage girl discovers that her thin hair is limiting her theatrical career. Brother and sister directing duo Leah Annetta and Reuben Street came up with the concept for their film from their daughters

Be You T. Foolbyoufool.001
Finalist: Brendan Pinches – Templestowe, Melbourne, VIC (Documentary)
An anonymous street artist reveals her secret practice of pasting portraits on the pillars of Chandler Highway Bridge in Melbourne.  It’s a fascinating documentary on Be You T. Fool – well-known for her work around Melbourne.

All 16 finalists have referenced this year’s Tropfest Signature Item (TSI), ‘CANDLE.’ Finalists will walk the black carpet at the main event, where their films will be judged by a panel of industry leaders.

Further to the prize pack mentioend above, the winner will also earn a film immersion course and ‘week of meetings’ in Los Angeles with agents, studio executives and other industry professionals courtesy of the Motion Picture Association, and a year’s membership to the Australian Director’s Guild.

What: Tropfest 2019
When: Saturday 9 February, 2019
Where: The Crescent, Parramatta Park, Parramatta NSW 2150
Price: FREE / BYO
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Tropfest is supported by Foundation Partner CGU Insurance, Presenting Partner Melrose Park by PAYCE, Exclusive Automotive Partner Holden and Strategic Partners Western Sydney University, Parramatta Park Trust, and the City of Parramatta. Tropfest is also supported by Major Government Partner, Screen Australia.

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