Change in the air at Tropfest 22
The hosts for Tropfest 22.
The times are a-changing for Tropfest this year. Not only has Australia’s most prestigious short film festival, now in its 22nd year, switched locations from Sydney’s Domain in the Royal Botanic Gardens to Centennial Park, it has also been bumped forward to a December date rather than its traditional February date, in hopes for better weather.
‘Change’, rather appropriately, is also the Festival’s signature item (TSI) this time around. “I guess the theme this year was chosen with quite a great deal of intention,” said Marc Fennell, one third of the hosts of Tropfest 22. Best known as ‘That Movie Guy’ to triple j listeners, Fennell will join fellow presenters Yumi Stynes and Adam Spencer in hosting the Festival, which will also be telecast on its new home of SBS2. Another exciting new change for Tropfest.
“I think it’s the first time Tropfest has had a really proper free-to-air channel home,” said Fennell. “The fun thing about Tropfest is that it’s a social occasion. It’s not just about the films, it’s about everyone getting together and having an opinion on the films and having a fun time watching them together.”
With today’s ease of accessibility to short films via platforms such as YouTube and Vimeo, now more than ever events such as Tropfest are placing the emphasis firmly on the social aspect of the Festival. Tropfest 22 aims to greatly involve home viewers as well as Festival goers via Twitter, Facebook, and of course, the Tropfest app.
“What will make Tropfest work is if the audience at home gets as involved as possible. You can pack a million people into live sites around Australia and into the audience at home, and everybody may watch the same film but everyone sees a different film. It’s the discussion and debate that comes from that, that I think is what actually makes Tropfest as an event,” Fennell explains. “Tropfest is that one big live event when everyone can get involved and everyone can have their say and bitch and cheer and that’s what makes it important.”
The sixteen chosen finalists for Tropfest 22 are an eclectic mix of films, interpreting the TSI of ‘Change’ in a variety of different ways and in a range of different genres. “I think what they’ve got this year is kind of a nice cross-section,” Fennell said. “Depending on what kind of Tropfest film you’re in the mood for, you’ll definitely find a few films that fit your taste. They’ve curated it quite well for that viewing experience.”
With change comes uncertainty, but Fennell is confident in the success of the giant conversation that will be Tropfest 22, “From my point of view, I think it’s all upside, but again time will tell.” There are, however, some key ingredients of the Tropfest tradition that will never change. “You should be visualizing in your head that I’m on the picnic rug and I’ve had a few too many spumates. That’s the visual image you should have in your head about your experience,” Fennell laughed.
Tropfest 22 is a free Festival being held in at Brazilian Fields in Sydney’s Centennial Park on Sunday, December 8 and broadcast to public spaces in other capital cities at 8.30pm on SBS2.