Sydney film competition Tropfest has been cancelled less than a month out due to a “a terrible and irresponsible mismanagement of Tropfest funds.“
Festival founder and director John Polson took to Facebook to announce the decision to call off the festival which he called, “the most difficult one I’ve made in Tropfest’s 23 year history.”
“In the past week or so, I have been made aware that the company contracted to raise the funding and administer the Tropfest event is unable to move forward for financial reasons,” he said.
“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.”
While he says it is too early to tell exactly what happened, he suspects that the management company has mismanaged the funds making it impossible for the festival to go ahead. Polson has launched legal action against the management company regarding a discrepancy “well into six figures,” as he told Fairfax.
The festival started in Sydney’s Tropicana cafe in 1993 and has since expanded toNorth America, the Middle East, New Zealand and South East Asia. This will be the first year since it started that it hasn’t been held.
More than 450 film-makers entered this year’s competition and the finalists had already been contacted with the announcement due to be made next week.
“My heart goes out to this year’s 16 filmmaking finalists, to our incredible list of sponsors and partners, and of course to our loyal and beloved audience,” Polson said.
“I and others will be spending the coming weeks and months investigating what has transpired.
“In the meantime, I ask all of Tropfest’s many 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.”
As for the festival’s future it’s uncertain at this stage. “Can it come back? I honestly don’t know,” he told Fairfax. He added that Australia has always been the priority and without them he’s not sure if the International events can continue.
Tropfest was due to be held at Centennial Park on 6th December and broadcast live on SBS2. You can read Polson’s entire statement below.