Description: Every February in Australia one of the more unique short film festivals in the world goes down. TropFest started out modestly in 1993 but has grown into a huge nationwide event since then. Hundreds of entries are submitted each year and out of those 16 finalists are chosen. These films are then simulcasted in public venues all across the country. In Sydney alone, it is estimated that 100,000 people come out to watch the films at huge outdoor screenings, meaning that being a finalist at Tropfest guarantees a filmmaker just about the largest festival audience a short film can get.
So of course this February Tropfest 2008 played out to great success once again. And thanks to a really great marketing and distro agreement, all of us non-Aussies, (or I suppose you Aussies who couldn’t make it to a screening as well) get a chance to join in on the fun through the magic of video that streams through a series of tubes!
Marry Me, a short based on the experiences of the filmmaker, Michelle Lehman, while growing up, won the whole enchilada, and is a very sweet film about childhood. The teaser caption for the film describes it as a story about “a little girl who likes a little boy and a little boy who likes his BMX bike”. The premise reinforces gender stereotypes, but a solid kick of grrrl power at the end solidifies the contemporary feel. Still it’s the purity, and irony of the premise—girl chases disinterested boy—that brings a smile to one’s face, especially knowing that in 10 years those roles will be switched and he’ll be kicking himself. What really makes the film click though are excellent performances from the very young actors, which is an extremely impressive feat. (Believe me I know).
As fine a film as Marry Me is, the true star this week is the Tropfest Video Vault, which allows viewers to stream all 16 chosen finalists from their computer, as well as an extremely healthy selection of finalists and winners from past years. It is the most comprehensive online offering from a major short film festival that I have come a across, and simply another goldmine for online short film fans.