Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Tropfest SEA honours regional storytellers

Next year’s Asian edition of the world’s largest short film festival is bigger with new partnerships, writes Aref Omar
AFTER the success of this year’s inaugural Tropfest South East Asia (Tropfest SEA) in Penang, in January, the second edition of the short film competition has garnered more support.
During a recent Press conference in Kuala Lumpur, Tropfest SEA managing director Joe Sidek said that he was excited to bring regional storytelling to a wider audience.
“Stories are at the very heart of the Tropfest ethos,” said Sidek.
He added: “It doesn’t matter what your age, budget, nationality or profession.
Tropfest SEA is a platform for every kind of story and everybody has a story to tell.” He hoped that with the support of the partnerships, each story would touch hearts across the region.
The winner of Tropfest SEA 2015 will receive US$12,000 (RM40,233), courtesy of Yayasan Sime Darby, as well as a five-day industry immersion trip to Los Angeles, sponsored by another major partner, the Motion Picture Association (which is the international counterpart of the Motion Picture Association of America).
Prior to the Press conference, Yayasan Sime Darby chairman Tun Musa Hitam said: “We are proud to be part of the second edition of Tropfest SEA through our sponsorship, which is in line with our arts and culture pillar.” YayasanSimeDarby’sRM700,000 contribution to Tropfest SEA 2015 will also go towards the event’s various production costs.
“It’s about celebrating the creativity behind the production of films and appreciating the role of film in its ability to convey positive messages, especially in the context of Malaysia, whose society is made up of many cultures and religions.” It is Musa’s hope that the accessibility and commonality of film as entertainment will cultivate understanding between cultures and people in the country and across the region.
He also added that the festival offers great opportunities for the young and that their talent should be nurtured and encouraged.
“Relatively speaking, short films are easier and cheaper to produce with limited facilities — all that is needed is talent and initiative,” he said.
Musa explained that Tropfest SEA would bring more recognition to the short film genre here and enable Malaysia to be a platform for films and related arts in Southeast Asia.
“By having Tropfest in Malaysia, we will be on par with the other host countries — Australia, UAE, the US and New Zealand,” he added.
Tropfest SEA is also supported by Finas and the Malaysia Major Events, a division of the Malaysia Convention and Exhibition Bureau, which is an agency under the Tourism and Culture Ministry.
Other partnerships include online video platform Viddsee, media broadcast giant Astro and J.
Walter Thompson, one of the world’s leading global creative agencies.
The Tropfest SEA 2015 competition received over 115 video submissions from eight Southeast Asian countries.
Upto16finalistswillbeannounced by the end of the month.
A series of events, including an Asean film showcase and a film symposium, will lead up to the festival day on Feb 1 next year in Penang.
Tropfest SEA 2015 will be a free, open air celebration that features the world premiere of the finalist films and the announcement of the winners, as well as live performances and outdoor catering.
Tropfest, originally known as the Tropicana Short Film Festival, was founded by John Polson at the Tropicana Cafe in Sydney, which saw a turnout of 200 people.
Twenty- one years on, Tropfest Australia attracts a live national audience of around 150,000 on a single night.
Tropfest has further grown to include festivals in the US, UAE and New Zealand, with Southeast Asia being the most recent addition.
Details at tropfest.com/sea.

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