Short Film Controversy

By February 21, 2013 Blog

‘Scene 16’ ( was funded by Metro Screen through the Breaks program and screened at Tropfest 2012 in the finals.

Post-Tropfest there has been heated debate about short films right across mainstream media and the blogosphere, and I think that’s a good thing. Short Films are front and centre of the debate which is the best news.

The film industry is fixated with the length of content, which screen it’s watched on and currently relies on a model where thousands of people work for free in the hope of the attaining the dream – to be paid to tell their stories. If Tropfest is the catalyst for bringing short films to the forefront of industry discussion and alternate viewpoints then hooray for Tropfest!

Some highlights from the presses:

Colin Delaney focuses on the importance of short films in launching careers and providing a stepping-stone for fillmakers to ‘cut their teeth’ on in Mumbrella ( Colin also suggests that festival prize money is a movitating factor – “One of the only revenue streams for shorts is festival prize money which can help to offset the cost of production and the fee to enter the film in the festival.” A one in 600 chance of recouping some of your budget seems like a stretch for a financial incentive.

Cail Young wrote a really interesting in-depth open letter ( Tropfest, a self-confessed cynic who would like the festival to CHANGE “…into one that celebrates excellence for its own sake, not as some constructed journey from hardship.” Cail’s 10 detailed suggestions for improvement and bingo-card for predicting winners really adds value to the dialogue out short film festival models.

And then there was the controversy over plagiarism with Micheal Bodey picking up on the website in The Australian (and Giles Hardie rushing to defend the Tropfest winner’s reputation in The Sydney Morning Herald more content is created, shared, remixed and re-shared often without crediting anyone along the way.

It’s so fantastic to feel the passion lifting off the pages as you read through all the comments, suggestions, accusations and justifications. What we now call short film, will be a normal part of our screen diet as faster internet connections start to feed our big surround TV screens.

In 2012 Metro Screen invested over $170,000 in new productions through financial funding, production subsidies, mentoring and support for film and content makers in NSW. Special funds were also earmarked for Emerging Filmmakers and an Indigenous program.

By Tiani Chillemi – Development Manager at Metro Screen