Australia’s TropFest Suddenly Cancelled

A long running institution on the Austalian film lover’s landscape has disappeared just a few weeks before this year’s incarnation was set to take place.

TropFest is the world’s largest short film festival and attracts hundreds of entries and is watched by hundreds of thousands of viewers every year. It was all set to hold its twenty-fourth annual celebration in Sydney, Australia on December 6th.

Now, all of a sudden, it has been cancelled. Event founder John Polson has revealed that a financial discrepancy “well into six figures” has emerged that would not allow the festival to proceed and has begun legal action against that company, stating there had been a “terrible and irresponsible mismanagement” of festival funds.

Speaking from New York where he works as an executive producer on CBS’ “Elementary,” Polson tells The Sydney Morning Herald he doesn’t know how it happened and isn’t sure if TropFest can come back from this:

“Suddenly, wham, we’ve got this huge hole. I’m not suggesting there’s any impropriety here. I honestly don’t know. The best I can say now is mismanagement. It’s hard to avoid ‘mismanagement’ if you’re not even getting straight answers about what the situation is. Can it come back? I honestly don’t know.

It’s like being in a bad dream. This is 23 years of work. It’s a stunning, shocking blow, with really no hint of what was to come… right now, our future is up in the air. I really don’t know what’s going to happen”

More than 450 filmmakers entered shorts this year and the finalists had been called ahead of an announcement next week. Susan Sarandon was set to head up the festival jury.