Fifteen year old filmmakers Max Barden and Tim Sheehan have won Trop Jr – the world’s largest short film festival, for kids by kids - with their short “Let’s Make a Movie”.
The high school friends from Kew in Victoria made the film in just two days with a $20 budget. Both filmmakers starred in the comedy about the difficulties in picking a genre for a Trop Jr film. They started their careers early making short film for a school project, before teaming up to make their winning entry - “Let’s Make a Movie”.
Emily O’Connell from Sydney’s Northern Beaches, also fifteen; and eleven year old Yianni Rowlands from Preston Victoria took home the runner up prizes for their films – “The Cascades” and “I Think You Stink Show” respectively.
“The Cascades” was filmed in the bush - Garigal National Park - a good 45 minutes walk from the filmmaker’s home. It was shot over seven days, with no budget. The film deals with a girl trying to come to terms with the death of her best friend.
“The I Think You Stink” is a claymation talent show, filmed entirely on one shelf of the filmmakers bookcase. The filmmaker overcame 30 degree days by taking his characters on frequent trips to the fridge to stop them melting,. He produced the film on a budget of $150.
Fourteen year old Harri Gilbert from Sydney’s North Shore won Trop Jr’s exciting new Onitsuka Tiger Prize for a touching film made on a budget of just $40. Gilbert used animation overlayed onto real footage and a touching score to tell the story of a friendship lost but not forgotten.
Winning team - Barden and Sheehan won a huge cash prize of $2,500 from Trop Jr’s new major partner LOL 99% fizzy fruit juice, a digital video camera, and an ABC3 educational filmmaking experience. They also get $1,000 worth of short courses through the Australian Film Television and Radio School.
The Trop Jr runners up walked away with $1,000 worth of Onitsuka Tiger products, and $750 in equipment hire and post production facilities at Metro Screen, Sydney.
Onitsuka Tiger Prize winner - Gilbert will be mentored by a past Tropfest finalist who will help him create a commissioned short film inspired by the Onitsuka Tiger brand, as well as taking home a stack of great apparel.
Over 5,000 young film fans and their families rolled out picnic blankets in the Domain to enjoy a beautiful day of sunshine and the 13 finalist films on the Tropfest big screen, with Trop Jr hosts Yumi Stynes and Scott Tweedie.
Screenings were also held in Melbourne, Canberra, Brisbane, Adelaide and Surfer’s Paradise.
Jordan Rodrigues, Xenia Goodwin, Tim Pocock (Dance Academy), Simeon Bain (2011 Trop Jr winner) and Morgana Davies (Actress, The Hunter) voted for the winning films.
A special hip hop demonstration by Dance Academy’s Rodrigues as well as free samples, instant photography, iPad games and a mountain of prizes kept smiles on lots of tiny faces throughout the day.
JUMP was announced as the Tropfest Signature Item for 2013’s Trop Jr Competition, and organisers expect many among the gathered crowds will take up the challenge next year.