Fest to celebrate South-East Asian cinema

Passion for their craft: Tropfest SEA 2015 finalists taking a group photo at the Hin Bus Depot Art Centre.

FILM connoisseurs can expect an explosion of screenings and talks at Tropfest SEA 2015 in Penang.

The festival will feature 16 finalist films.

A total of five are from Cambodia (Colourful Knots, The Ride, The Scavenger, Bubble, and A Fistful of Pebbles) and five are from the Philippines (To Someplace, Kat’s Diary, Commune, The Steel Child, and The Little Reader).

Malaysia has four on the list of finalists (Emma’s Birthday, Tank, All That Could Have Been, Wheel Rolling Home).

There is one from Singapore (Bond) and another film from Vietnam (Lily).

Leading up to the festival’s actual date on Feb 1 will be a two-night screening of top feature and short films on Jan 28 and 29 from 6pm to 11pm at the Hin Bus Depot Art Centre.

Visitors to the art centre can watch publicly acclaimed feature films by Hannah Espia (Transit) and Chay Bora (Lost Lovers) as well as short films from the Berlinale Film Festival and Viddsee.

Tropfest’s official film forum, Roughcut, will feature legendary cinematographer Christopher Doyle and speakers including Motion Picture Association Asia Pacific president Mike Ellis and Association of Indonesian Film Producers president Sheila Timothy.

The forum will be held at Jen Hotel on Jan 31 from 9am to 6pm.

Winners of Tropfest SEA 2015 will be announced on Feb 1 and on that day, festival visitors can expect to see performances by local talents such as Dasha Logan, Platform 11 and the Jamie Wilson Trio.

Admission is free on the festival day itself. Doors will open to the public from 4pm to 11.30pm at the Espla-nade.

Winners of the festival will receive a US$12,000 (RM40,267) cash prize, a five-day industry immersion trip to Los Angeles and a Tropfest SEA 2015 trophy.

The first and second runners-up will receive an all- expenses paid trip to a Tropfest international event and a Tropfest SEA 2015 trophy.

The voting for the Audience Choice Award will open on Feb 2 at Viddsee.com and will go on till Feb 16.

The film with the most votes will be given the award.

Tropfest SEA managing director Joe Sidek said that the event was still in need of some RM500,000 in funds.

“We have media partners this year.

“Yayasan Sime Darby is contributing RM700,000 to Tropfest SEA to cover the event’s production cost, travel expenses for finalists and other aspects of the event.

“However, we are still shy of about RM500,000 and I have three more weeks to come up with the money,” he said.

Joe added that more partners and sponsors were much welcomed.

He also said that the ASEAN secretariat based in Jakarta had asked him to consider renaming Tropfest SEA to Tropfest ASEAN.

He added that cities like Kuching and Kuala Lumpur had requested to host Tropfest SEA but he wished to keep it in Penang.

Tropfest was established 23 years ago in Sydney, Australia.

It aimed to encourage the production and exhibition of short films, foster creative storytelling, and offer an opportunity for talented filmmakers to share their stories with an enormous live audience.

For more information, visit www.tropfest.com/sea.

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