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Legal action launched as Tropfest cancelled

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Tropfest founder and director John Polson says his heart goes out to this year’s finalists and the public after he was forced to cancel the festival.

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He’s also pleaded with supporters to “bear with us” while organisers try to recover from the disaster.

Polson yesterday announced that the world’s largest short film festival, held annually in Sydney’s Centennial Park and scheduled for December 6, won’t go ahead due to a “terrible and irresponsible mismanagement of Tropfest funds”.

The founder has now started legal action against the festival’s management company, which was also responsible for raising funds.

“Despite a challenging sponsorship climate, Tropfest has done reasonably well in attracting support this year; however, to my great surprise, the management company has informed us that it is unable to proceed,” Polson said in a statement last night.

He described the decision to cancel the event as “the most difficult one I’ve made in Tropfest’s 23 year history”.

“My heart goes out to this years 16 filmmaking finalists, to our incredible list of sponsors and partners, and of course to our loyal and beloved audience,” he added.

He said it was too early to tell what has actually happened, but said it was “hard to avoid concluding there has been a terrible and irresponsible mismanagement of Tropfest funds” and pledged to spend the “coming weeks and months” investigating what had transpired.

Polson asked Tropfest’s supporters to “bear with us while we figure out how we can rebound from this disaster”.

“Now more than ever this unique Australian cultural event needs your patience and support,” he said.

The Intersection, the company responsible for managing the festival’s funding, has been contacted for comment.

Event management company Our Friends Electric, which has worked on Tropfest for 13 years, said on social media that it had nothing to do with the issue.

“We are, essentially, a supplier to the company in question, and like many other partners of the festival are shocked by the news,” the company said on Facebook last night.

“The team echo John’s words in that now more than ever short film in Australia needs your support and will rise again.”

Social media was also abuzz with the news on Thursday morning, with sadness expressed for the filmmakers and blame focused on governments.

Since its inception in 1993, Tropfest has expanded to festivals in New Zealand, South East Asia, the United States, and the Middle East.



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