Tropfest 2011: I Want My Money Back!

Well, that’s what I would be demanding if it wasn’t that Tropfest is yet another of the many Australian outdoors event that is completely free of charge.

For those of you who are really only interested to read about the life in Australia stuff rather than me having a rant, click these links to read my posts about Australia’s Great Outdoors or Some Free Stuff.

But for those of you who would like to experience side splitting laughter, bitter disappointment and musical genius all in one post, then my rant is a must for you.

Regular readers will know that I have waxed lyrical about Tropfest over the last two years. I first mentioned the event on this blog back in March 2009 in my post called Tropfest: a slice of Australian culture.

In that article I explained what Tropfest was all about, put my favourite film in the post and gave a link to the YouTube channel where you could watch all 16 finalists.

Then last year I went to South Bank Parklands in Brisbane to watch the event live and outdoors.

You can read about that in my post called Australian Good Things: Outdoorfests! And again, I posted my favourite film of the night on that post and also gave you a link where you could watch all the films from each of 16 finalists.

So why the disappointment with this year’s Tropfest?

Two reasons really. First, Tropfest is the world’s largest short film festival and it’s Australian, 100% Australian. Yet this year, when I went to the official YouTube channel for Tropfest, something disturbing happened.

All 16 films are listed, as they always are. I clicked on the winner and I could watch it, as usual. Then I clicked on my favourite movie of the night so that I could embed it on my blog here, and this happened……

This video contains content from Tropfest NY, who has blocked it in your country on copyright grounds.

No video to watch at all, just that notice. Strange, I thought. So I clicked on another and another. In fact I tried to play every one of the 16 finalists and got this message 15 times…

This video contains content from Tropfest NY, who has blocked it in your country on copyright grounds.

What is going on? Tropfest is Australian! I live in Australia! And I can’t watch them? What, I’ve got to move to New York now? Needless to say, I can’t put a link to all 16 finalists on this years post. Moving on.

And the second reason I think this years Tropfest turned out to be a Flopfest, was the winner. There were so many good entries, so many excellent stories and clever and original ideas.

Like this one, called Silencer, which was far and away my favourite of the evening and certainly the funniest short film of the night. I’ve been lucky enough to find it on YouTube, but not on the official Tropfest channel.

So watch it while you can, because if it is in breach of copyright I suspect Tropfest NY will already be in talks with their lawyers to ensure that the Australian public continue to be denied access to this country’s own free event.

Silencer, very short, very funny……

That should have won it, but it didn’t. This did…

A nice enough celebration of wildlife with a decent soundtrack, but is it original? Is it clever? Is it a great story? Or is it any more than just a slightly dodgy soundtrack with some semi-poor graphics that would be better off shown late at night on MTV?

And it wins Tropfest? Bitterly disappointing.

It gets worse. In desperately searching for a site that hosts all of the finalist’s videos for the Australian market, I kept discovering more controversy about this winner with suggestions that actually, no, it really isn’t original. Apparently YouTube already has many similar videos to this online.

The great John Peel would have described this as a “list song”. Think of a subject, say famous bands, write list of famous bands, write a repetitive musical score, read the list whilst playing the music and pops your uncle, you got a single. Generally speaking, they are a cheap shot.

I was trying to think of examples, but I could only think of one. But this one certainly isn’t a cheap shot; this one is a touch of genius. Because anyone can make a list of famous bands, or a list of animals, but a list of “Reasons to Be Cheerful” isn’t so easy to compile.

Thankfully, Ian Dury did it and that allows me to end this post on a high with some true musical brilliance. It’ll also help us all put the Tropfest winner to the very back of our minds and personally speaking, it certainly cheered me up!

Footnote: if Tropfest come to their senses and start allowing Australians to view the films on their YouTube channel, please do comment below to let me know. On the other hand, if they force the “Silencer” movie off of YouTube, please let me know about that too so I can search for a replacement. Many thanks.

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{ 6 comments… add one }
  • Daniel Ralph November 20, 2016, 7:03 pm |

    There is a song that is exactly what you described. ‘Destroy Rock & Roll’ by Mylo lists 80s musicians, set to a synthesised beat. The vocal sample is actually from a recording titled ‘Invocation for Judgement Against and Destruction of Rock Music’, recorded by religious organization Church Universal and Triumphant in 1984. Mylo’s song has a great video.

    • BobinOz November 21, 2016, 7:04 pm |

      Gosh, yes, that is exactly as I have described it. 100%. Well found! Cheers, Bob

  • Tom December 26, 2011, 1:49 am |

    Hi Bob

    Agree with your comments on the 2011 winner of Tropfest. Like your blog too by the way!


  • Paul December 6, 2011, 7:41 am |

    Hello Bob,

    This is a great site, I just found it by accident. I loved your commentary on the films and Tropfest in general and I agree 100%. The mime film should have won as it is great, very funny and original. Excellent piece of work. But if it won there would be a lot of people whinging and complaining because of their continued sensitivity and I think and this is the ridiculous way a lot of us think nowadays I’m sorry to say. I think so-called “political correctness” was dominant over common sense when choosing a winner.

    Anyway all the best Bob! Thanks again

    • BobinOz December 8, 2011, 12:13 am |

      Hi Paul

      Yes, I’m sure that most competitions like this have a certain amount of political correctness playing a part.

      Not sure why PC could have eventually help the winner, I just think it’s a shame a film like that one it. Give me ‘Silencer’ any day!

      Cheers Paul!


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