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Tropfest NZ back on for 2017

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

The Taranaki Arts Festival Trust announced today Tropfest NZ is back on for 2017.

Two sponsors have come to the aid of Tropfest NZ after it was announced on Tuesday June 21st the festival did not have enough funding to present a 2017 competition and event.

Tropfest NZ CEO Suzanne Porter confirmed the sponsors were Venture Taranaki Trust and New Zealand’s largest screen production company South Pacific Pictures, known for Whale Rider, Sione’s Wedding, Shortland Street and Outrageous Fortune.

"We’re immensely grateful for the support we’ve received at such short notice from South Pacific Pictures and Venture Taranaki and we’re delighted we can continue to present and develop the iconic festival and present a free event to the people of Taranaki."

"The calibre of South Pacific’s work and their stature within the industry is a great asset to Tropfest NZ and we’re very much looking forward to working with them to promote and support NZ filmmakers."

South Pacific Pictures CEO Kelly Martin said they were "very pleased to support Tropfest - and as a result, to support new and up and coming film makers in New Zealand. We’re looking forward to seeing another strong line-up of films in the 2017 event."

John Barnett, former CEO and Chairman of South Pacific Pictures and New Zealand’s unofficial godfather of Film and TV has been a long-time Tropfest NZ ambassador was thrilled to learn the show will go on, saying "Tropfest NZ provides a great opportunity for NZ screen talent and its continuing presence will be welcomed by all. Congratulations to all."

Venture Taranaki, which administers the Major Event Fund on behalf of the New Plymouth District Council, has been a foundation sponsor of Tropfest NZ since its inception. "The region continues to attract creative entrepreneurs who help to build Taranaki’s reputation for innovation and design. Tropfest is a valuable addition to the creative economy," said Venture Taranaki Chief Executive Stuart Trundle. Martin Henderson, Tropfest NZ’s first ambassador said "the festival is a vital portal for the next generation of filmmakers /actors/screenwriters in NZ. It’s a unique, accessible and fun festival. I’m proud to continue to be an ambassador for it."

Tropfest ambassador Katie Wolfe who has supported the festival in a number of ways over the years, including being a judge and pre-selection judge said she wasn’t surprised at the news the festival had been saved. "The industry needs short film festivals, it’s crucial that we have a playground for our future filmmakers to hone their skills and a platform for them to promote their work - Tropfest meets these needs." Vincent Ward, also a Tropfest ambassador said he was delighted to hear Tropfest would continue in New Zealand, "the struggle is real for the arts industry and those working hard to get an audience for their art and Tropfest NZ is a fantastic stage for our NZ filmmakers."

Ambassador Sara Wiseman credits Tropfest with enabling filmmakers to break through the noise, "So much amazing talent comes out of New Zealand, it’s just a matter of reaching an audience. I’m so happy to hear Tropfest NZ will be going ahead and continuing to offer the opportunity for our filmmakers to have the spotlight they deserve."

Tropfest Founder and Director John Polson said he was blown away by the support the festival had received. "The industry and community have spoken and they’re not ready to lose Tropfest. I look forward to seeing the entries for the 2017 competition and I urge anyone interested in filmmaking to start thinking about submitting a film."

Porter said the festival would still be running at a small loss but the bigger picture had to be taken into account. "Presenting in 2017 means we are now be able to continue making lasting partnerships and ensuring the long-term survival of the festival."

The Tropfest Signature Item (TSI) for the 2017 competition is ‘FLAME’ and the festival will announce the open for entries date in the following weeks.

The main screening event will be held in New Plymouth at the TSB Bowl of Brooklands on Saturday, February 18, 2017.

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