Tropfest New York 2012

Over the weekend, I had the pleasure of attending Tropfest New York 2012, “the world’s largest short film festival” (which originated in Australia) hosted by Hugh Jackman at Bryant Park. Alas, Hugh didn’t appear until later in the day but we still had fun spending the afternoon in the park.

Serendipitously, there was a street fair going on right near Bryant Park so we passed some of the time checking out the jewelry, clothes, accessories, bath & body, cosmetics and food/drinks. We then headed back to Bryant Park and sat & relaxed in the shade, sharing some great conversation and yummy snacks, all while enjoying live music.

Later in the day, Hugh Jackman finally made an appearance, looking very handsome and being very charming with that Australian accent of his. He talked a little about Tropfest and then we were shown “Best of Tropfest Films.” Most of these short films were extremely strange and we weren’t sure what to make of them.

We were then introduced to the panel of celebrity judges, who had the task of judging this year’s finalists- of which there were 8 total. The judges included Rose Bryne, Judah Friedlander and several well known industry folks.

After the intermission, was Part 2: Tropfest New York 2012 Finalist Films. All the films had to incorporate “bagel” somehow. These short films were also strange, but at least more readily understood. There were maybe 2 of them that I just couldn’t get into, as they were just too simple and didn’t tell a story very well.

But I quite enjoyed several of the short films (in order of appearance): “Elvis: The Lonely Hunter of Circle Beach” was adorable, about a too-adorable sweet dog who hunted bagels on the beach. “Elevator” which was a suspense/drama between the elevator and the young mother’s son. “The Break-Up Tour” took place in Greenwich Village, following a couple on a tour. This one has a wicked twist to a it. And “Thanks Dad,” a very moving, emotional, powerful piece about a horrific event that would change a family forever & the grown-up son finally confronts his abusive father about it.

Hugh Jackman had the filmmakers come up to speak about their respective films, while the judges, judged. I agreed with most of their awards: 3rd Place went to “Elvis: The Lonely Hunter of Circle Beach;” 2nd Place went to “The Break-Up Tour” but 1st Place was stolen from “Thanks Dad” and was instead, given to “Emptys” a documentary-like film about recycling. Now, don’t get me wrong- I love recycling and it’s something that I strive to do always but that film was certainly not better than “Thanks Dad,” which had it all — Plot, dialogue, emotion, story, good acting, message… “Thanks Dad” just really resonated, and had a beautiful hopeful ending. So I was quite sad that “Thanks Dad” (the one film that deserved it the most) didn’t win anything…

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12 Comments

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12 responses to “Tropfest New York 2012

  1. John Campos

    Agree 110%

  2. Thanks for your kind words about Thanks Dad! You can watch it here. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iThi3LYi0YQ

  3. stanley roper

    Tropfest is a popularity fixed hoax. Lost respect for it now. Now we know why Tribeca got rid of it!

  4. Pat

    I absolutely agree with your comments here. Thanks Dad should have won

  5. Felicia

    Thanks Dad was by far the best film there and should have been the first-place winner. It was a huge disappointment that this film and director were not recognized at all at Tropfest.

  6. Anonymous

    There was no contest, Thanks Dad was so far ahead of the rest of the films, it should have won First Place! The Emptys was extremely boring.

  7. stanley roper

    And another thing.. Hey Josh Leakes… New Yorkers DO Recycle! Go sh*t in your can
    with that ignorant comment!

  8. Esther

    Thanks Dad was an incredible piece which should have received the first prize —hands down. No other film had the emotionally charged and powerful message this film illustrated. The Director is a very talented and gifted artist. Cheers to you and your exceptional work and talents.

  9. Kelly

    I completely agree with everyone…for Thanks Dad to not even place was beyond me. Second and Third place made sense to me so I thought Thanks Dad was a lock and to see that Emptys got it was just wrong. It didn’t even really talk about recycling. It was more about what people do to get money when they are on hard times…there was no real “recycle” message in it. Ashame really because Thanks Dad was a real film, allbeit short, it was captivating and should have at least placed.

  10. David Byrne

    Bagels … that was the point of the competition, right? Everyone seems to have forgotten this simple fact. ‘Thanks Dad’ and ‘Emptys’ featured bagels in such a lame, cut-in-after-the-fact manner. ‘Elvis’ at least responded well, creating a world inspired by the brief – from scratch. The festival seems to be about branding, celebrity and jury ego – little more.

    • Big Pete

      Hey David,
      While I do agree with you, Elvis was brilliant in the fact that it portrayed the TSI in creative way. You can’t deny the fact that IF empty’s was a contender, then so should have “Thanks Dad”. Thanks Dad was a far better film, for films sake than anything else played that night. Not taking anything away from the others, it just was. The rules state that it is not about the bagel. So then, the bagel becomes irrelevant. Take away the bagels, to me, its about film making period, and that goes to Thanks Dad. I think there was ulterior motives to emptys winning. Like they want more doc’s next year or something, it just didn’t feel right.

  11. Pat

    I was so stunned to see Thanks Dad not win top prize, albeit not even place. As I sat there and viewed each film, I could easily tell (so I thought) which film was going to win. As for what Dave said, the whole point of the competition is NOT about the bagels. It’s about film making. Thanks dad was the best film. However, based on the outcome, it seems people are better off making documenteries as opposed to a conventional movie next year if they want to win this thing. TWO THUMBS DOWN to the judges of TROPFEST 2012 for not voting for Thanks Dad.

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