Tropfest Needs You!

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Tropfest needs your help!

In November 2015, the world’s largest short film festival had its worst day. As most people in Australia know, Tropfest was cancelled for the first time in its 23-year history. The events of this time took an enormous toll but now, thanks to CGU Insurance, Tropfest is back and live on Valentine’s Day - February 14, 2016.

Yes, this iconic Aussie event is back. But we need your help to design and build its future.
We are reaching out to the film community, our audiences, supporters and friends with this Pozible campaign so that together we create a bright and sustainable new era for Tropfest.


From its early days as a café pop-up to today’s global film industry brand, Tropfest is one Australia’s best-loved cultural experiences and a big part of our creative identity.

It started back in 1993, when John Polson screened a short film for friends at the Tropicana cafe in Sydney’s Darlinghurst. Amazingly, more than 200 people showed up! Inspired by the turn out, John decided that a fully-fledged short film festival was the next step—and Tropfest was born.

Now, 23 years on, Tropfest has become an iconic Australian event, attracting the support of the industry leaders around the world, and remaining a respected platform for Australia’s exciting new talent. Robert Connolly, Emma Freeman, Nash Edgerton, Joel Edgerton, Sam Worthington, Damon Gameau, Jason Gann and Rebel Wilson are just a few of the well-known Australian names that have come up through the ranks of Tropfest.

Nationally, around 150,000 people attend the festival at live sites. The SBS2 broadcast reaches around half a million viewers, and finalists’ films have had almost 40 million views online. Tropfest claims a huge share of voice for Australian talent in the international arena – a talent that is rich and deep and something we are so proud to be part of.

Troubled times

Unfortunately in 2015, the privately-owned company that held the license to manage and run Tropfest in Australia ran into financial difficulties. Just one month out from the December event, they admitted that they were unable to continue with it. The license was terminated and Tropfest was left to figure out how to bounce back from this disaster. At this point, John Polson stepped back in to take control and rebuild Tropfest from scratch.

The future

We are indebted to CGU Insurance, who extended a lifeline partnership that has seen us through our darkest hour. Without CGU, there would be no festival on 14 February. And no platform for the most exciting young voices in Australian film. Now, thanks to CGU, Tropfest is back - but we also need to design our future. And this is where we need your help.

After February 14 we have several major pieces of work to do. These are a strategic review, governance review, and involving our community in the solution through research and group conversations. We will be finding ways for Tropfest to remain true to its values but able to diversify its funding base to ensure a healthy and sustainable cash flow. We need to be in a position to think big into the future and be there for the long haul for young Aussie talent.

By supporting our Pozible campaign, you will help us get this work done, and give Tropfest the stability to stay real and focused on the people that matter most.

How we say thank you!

At the end of the day, Tropfest is your event. It wouldn’t exist without our talented filmmaking entrants and phenomenal audiences — the tens of thousands of you who come, watch and debate the films, and take note of their makers.

We’ve put together some amazing rewards to say ‘thank you’ for whatever you can do to help us rebuild. Every gift, no matter how small is appreciated enormously by all of us.

How The Funds Will Be Used

Funds raised through crowd funding will be used to cover the cost of the strategic review, governance review, some vital audience research and focus groups and developing a business model that is genuinely sustainable. We need to find new partners and new ways of funding what we do best while remaining true to our values of inclusivity and accessibility.

Strategic review and business model restructure: $45,000
Finance & governance review: $7,500
Research - filmmakers, industry, audiences, supporters: $20,000
Fundraising plan development: $17,500
Travel & accommodation (domestic): $5,000
Project expenses - conferencing, research materials, printing, transcribing, admin: $5,000
TOTAL: $100,000

The Challenges

Running Tropfest is a big deal. Simplicity is the bedrock of the Tropfest brand - we started with an old U-matic tape player, a large TV and bunch of friends in a Sydney cafe. Today however, we just cannot create a great experience for a live audience of tens of thousands and honour the work of our filmmakers with basic equipment. Screens, sound and lighting as well as the significant infrastructure (that allows us to welcome so many guests on one night) is what we need to deliver Tropfest at the level we all want and expect.

We also have year-long marketing and communications needs as well as maintaining a small team and managing the recruitment of an international jury.

Up until now, Tropfest has been entirely funded by grants, sponsorships and media partnerships. And as we know, this has made it an unpredictable business model that subjects us to any volatility or uncertainty in the market.

This is what we have been up against. And this is the problem we need your help to solve.
This Project is in draft status.
A$10 +Thank you! Thank you so much for your support! We really appreciate it.
24 Chosen | Unlimited AvailableEst. delivery is January 2016
A$25 +Social media shout out! We'll thank you by name on our Twitter account and etch your name on our website honour roll.
38 Chosen | Unlimited AvailableEst. delivery is February 2016
A$50 +Badge of honour!You'll receive a special Tropfest badge and we'll chisel your name on our website honour roll.
18 Chosen | Unlimited AvailableEst. delivery is April 2016
A$100 +Tip of the hat to you!You'll look snazzy in your brand new Tropfest cap and you'll be included on our website honour roll.
18 Chosen | 182 AvailableEst. delivery is May 2016
A$250 +It's in the bag! You'll receive a fashionable Tropfest bag to show our thanks and your name will be in lights on our website honour roll.
4 Chosen | 196 AvailableEst. delivery is May 2016
A$500 +Best seats in the house! You'll watch Tropfest from the best seats in the house! We'll provide the seats and rope you off an area. We'll also see that your name is listed on our website honour roll. *You'll need to make sure you're available to attend the event in Sydney on Sunday 14 February
0 Chosen | 50 AvailableEst. delivery is February 2016
A$525 +Chat with Jackson MullaneGrab a coffee with Jackson Mullane, second prize winner of Tropfest 2014—director, screenwriter and actor—and chat about filmmaking, direction, or footy! Your name will also be added to our website honour roll. *Jackson lives in Sydney, so you'll need to arrange a suitable time to meet him there
0 Chosen | 1 AvailableEst. delivery is June 2016
A$575 +Meet Jason van GenderenJoin Jason van Genderen, winner of Tropfest 2008, director and producer, for a one-on-one pocket filmmaking coaching to teach you how to film spectacular content with your smartphone! We'll include you on our website honour roll too. *Jason is based in the Hunter Valley and Sydney, so travel arrangements or a suitable time and place to meet will need to be arranged
0 Chosen | 1 AvailableEst. delivery is June 2016
A$1000 +The movie star treatment!Sit in the VIP section and rub shoulders with some of the heavyweights and heavyweights-to-be of international cinema. We’ll then drag you along to the VIP Afterparty. You’ll also be included in our website honour roll. *You'll have to get yourself to Tropfest in Sydney on Sunday 14 February
0 Chosen | 10 AvailableEst. delivery is February 2016
A$5000 +Walk the red carpet!Not only will you walk the red carpet with the stars, you and a friend will enjoy the festival from the VIP section and score invites to the VIP Afterparty. You’ll also be officially credited as an bona fide Tropfest partner and listed on our website honour roll. *You'll need to be in Sydney on Sunday 14 February for this one
0 Chosen | 5 AvailableEst. delivery is February 2016
A$10000 +All GoneThe Polson ExperienceOn festival day, wherever John Polson goes, you go. Share the high stress, high excitement experience of running the world’s biggest short film festival. You’ll be officially credited as an executive producer. Your name will be listed on our website honour roll, of course. *You'll need to be in Sydney on Sunday 14th February to hang with JP
1 Chosen | 0 AvailableEst. delivery is February 2016