Subtitle: Ten unconnected and possibly contradictory paragraphs about Tropfest ’07.


Tropfest again, and again with the bigger and the brighter and the more glamorous sponsors and the further that the authorities will go to pander to an event that has eaten itself, a monstrous giant with an audience demographic averaging 25 years of age, many with an interest in new technology such as Sony makes.

From its humble beginnings in the Tropicana Cafe, Tropfest has become an inspiring success story, enabling emerging film makers an opportunity to find a wider audience and progress to professional film making, with many notable success stories, not least its deserving founder.

I had a crap time at Tropfest, though I did get to sneak into the rooms behind Stage ’88, take a piss in the toilet, and try on the horridly sweat-soaked dog-head mask abandoned in the male dressing room.

Dog head in dressing room

Dog head on man

Though it is indeed a marvel that crowds in numerous cities can see idiots among their far-flung co-festers jumping up and down in front of the camera and, technically, share in the procedings, the Canberra event was marred by irritating technical issues. The screens both had visual faults, screen one having large rectangles that periodically misbehaved in a ‘blocky’, compressed mpeg sort of effect. Screen two had a square of about 64 pixels, middle top left, that would rather be white than any other colour. The sound was also way over the top, ear-splittingly loud in the VIP area into which I inadvertently strayed.

Crowd shot

The first film was from a Canberra entrant and it might have been good. It was a rather cerebral, animated, tale in which the characters were genres of fiction. It required concentration. It probably had an interesting message. It may have conveyed it most cleverly and with wit. But without being able to distinguish the narrative, which continued throughout, from the score, one couldn’t tell if it was bush or primo bud. The fault of the sound designer or of the feed or the local p.a. guy? I don’t know. But I checked my assessment with the guys from CIT’s Dept. of Communication. ‘They fucked it’ was the response. The snippets I saw on tv earlier in the day sounded fine. Oh well.

The shots of the crowd that constituted much of the half-time entertainment and other scheduled or unscheduled breaks reminded one of the old days of test cricket coverage when the camera men, otherwise underemployed, would stray over the crowd looking for a tasty, bikini-clad bird to ogle. It was possibly the most entertaining part of the whole event. The couple in the sequence below made the most of their 15 seconds.


All the fuss and the hype and the crowds and the $6.50 sausage sandwiches can’t hide the fact that everyone was there to watch the best efforts of some amateur film-makers operating on very small budgets. With notable exceptions, the standard of films this year was pretty poor, verging at times towards really really bad. I won’t be specific (mainly because I can’t remember but also because I can’t do better… yet). One of the CIT guys said to me of one film ‘even you could do better than that’, which could be taken in a couple of ways.

On the subject of the sausage sandwiches, they constituted a white fluffy bun with a sausage and some home-brand grated cheese. When I laughed incredulously after the man told me the price, ‘six-fifty for a sausage sandwich?’ I guffawed, I was informed that ‘there was a bit more to it than that’. My good man. Please accept my apologies. I didn’t know I was in the presence of a master.

The local presenters, who got at least one spot on the nationalcast, were completely unknown to me, and had the uncanny knack of seeming embarrassed and having little to say right when they should have been lively and witty and entertaining. Their interview with some dude who happened to be at the first Tropfest many years ago was a gem, possibly a rhinestone. I think he had his hair done especially.

Tropfest Canberra, local presenters

Tropfest is great. It is so good, nonentities from cyberspace will swan in and crap on it from about shoe-lace elevation, even as lurks in their heart the long-cherished dream of perhaps making a film that might be considered for a showing… one day… when they think they’re good enough.

7 Responses to “Crapfest”

  1. […] Loadedog pulls no punches starting with the headline, “Crapfest”. Category: Movies […]

  2. I don’t think it was that Crap!
    Sure the sound in the first film was very bad, and the image was a bit pixelling at the start, but once the hiccups were fixed (and the flashing lights stopped), I think it went really well.

    The unknown presenters were crap and the food prices were crap, but the films weren’t.

    And you can just see me at the front of the picture you took…just…if you have good eyes.

  3. Welcome to Loadedog, MickRad, and thanks for the comment. Can’t quite make you out in the photo… speaking of which, I have had two reports of the pics in this story not appearing. Anyone else had the same experience?

  4. There is a big gap at the top of the article. But I don’t think anythings missing.

    By the way. We met a couple of years back at the Wig n’ Pen at a Blogger meetup.

    Long time ago though :)

  5. […] to Loadedog’s article on the event, I now know that the horrible disturbing loud noise wafting over Inner North Canberra on the […]

  6. Are you on a pc running IE, MickRad. Yes, I recall that meeting.

  7. I believe I have solved the ‘pictures not appearing’ problem. Yay. Thanks to those who assisted or tried to.