A stop-frame animation less than four minutes in length has been awarded the prestigious pineapple trophy at Tropfest 2016, held in Centennial Park on Sunday night.
Titled 'Shiny,' the film humorously examines the human preoccupation with "shiny things". In a neat twist, real clothes are animated to look like people -- all of which become obsessed with the discovery of a diamond-like object.
The winning film's creators Spencer Susser and Daniel Cloud-Campos are based in Los Angeles (Cloud-Campos appeared at the Sydney festival via FaceTime) and also picked up two Tropfest Craft Awards for Sound Design and VFX.
The "world's largest short film festival" -- which last year was cancelled due to funding woes, only to be brought back to life by last minute investor CGU Insurance -- proved still popular among movie buffs, with a turn out of over 100,000 despite storm clouds overhead.
Tropfest founder and director John Polson addressed the festival's tumultuous past few months in his congratulatory speech.
"I congratulate Daniel Cloud Campos and Spencer Susser on taking home the Tropfest trophy this evening. Tonight’s turn out shows Tropfest is more alive and relevant than ever. It’s thrilling to see so many supporters of short film come out to celebrate grassroots storytelling. Tropfest’s ability to celebrate the phenomenal talent of these filmmakers with film industry heavyweights and such a huge national audience is the part of the magic that has taken many of our winners to the next level of their careers," Polson said.
“The last few months have been an incredible -- at times very difficult -- journey. Just a couple of months ago, I truly believed there would never be another Tropfest because of what happened. But thanks to CGU Insurance, here we are, having screened 16 incredible finalist films to hundreds of thousands of people all over Australia and the world. It’s hard to put into words what we owe CGU Insurance for keeping this uniquely Australian event on the tracks. It’s a wonderful feeling knowing Tropfest -- and the many small businesses that rely on us every year -- will continue.”
Along will their pineapple trophy, Susser and Cloud Campos will receive a Hyundai Tucson for a year, $10,000 cash, a trip to Los Angeles for a week of meetings with film executives, an HP Spectre x2 as well as a Nikon D810 and Nikkor lenses and accessories.
Sydney filmmakers Nick Baker and Tristan Klein took out second prize for their animation 'Postcards to Ulay,' with third prize going to another Sydney-sider, Rick Donald for 'The ATM.'
The judging panel consisted of actors Mel Gibson, Simon Baker and Rebecca Gibney; cinematographer Don McAlpine and directors Jocelyn Moorhouse and Maya Newell.
One downside to the event was the notable lack of female representatives in the 16 finalists, of which only one had a female filmmaker. It was a discrepancy which didn't go unnoticed by 'Gayby Baby' documentary maker Newell, who called for more gender diversity at the 2017 event.
In addition to new partner CGU Insurance, Tropfest is supported by the NSW Government through Destination NSW and Screen NSW; as well as returning major partners Qantas, Nikon, Centennial Parklands, SBS 2, Screen Australia, and Nova 96.9.