World’s Largest Short Film Festival Comes to Middle East

21 Feb 2011

Tropfest Arabia to showcase regional film-making talent

Tropfest, the world’s largest short film festival, today announced that it is to bring the world renowned festival to the Middle East and North Africa. The new event, Tropfest Arabia, will premiere in Abu Dhabi in November 2011 with exciting prizes on offer.

The prize poolavailable includes cash prizes of $15,000, $10,000 and $5,000, a visit to Los Angeles for a week of facilitated meetings with the senior executives from the film industry, a trip to Australia to take part in Tropfest 2012, the opportunity to work with established producers and directors on regional productions, places on international standard training workshops delivered by twofour54 tadreeb and access to state of the art production and post production facilities at twofour54 intaj.

Tropfest Arabia aims to become one of the most influential and popular short film events on the region’s film calendar. One of its priorities will be to help nurture the region’s growing film making community by taking a grass roots approach and supporting talent that might otherwise be excluded from the region’s film festivals.

One of Australia’s and New York’s most iconic cultural events, Tropfest was founded by the award winning actor and director John Polson, as a short film festival for friends and family at the Tropicana Café in Sydney, Australia almost 20 years ago. Today it is a world class platform and is widely regarded for its support of new film making talent through festivals and film maker initiatives. Tropfest Australia 2011 takes place on 20th February.


Commenting on the launch of Tropfest Arabia, John Polson, founder of Tropfest said: “It is clear that over the last few years the short film industry has been growing throughout the Middle East. As this industry continues to develop so too does the need to provide budding film makers with a channel through which to showcase their creative talents. We hope that the introduction of Tropfest Arabia will do just this.”

Criteria for entering Tropfest Arabia are that the film must be made specifically for the festival, with the first public screening happening during the event. Each film must be no more than seven minutes long (including credits) and must contain a specific object, known as the Tropfest Signature Item (TSI).

Each year filmmakers wait with anticipation for the announcement of the coming festival’s Tropfest Signature Item. Some of the films entered are heavily inspired by the Item and others have only small and sometimes hidden references to it. The Tropfest Signature Item is designed to test the creativity of professional and amateur filmmakers by challenging them to reference it in their film. The signature item for the first running of Tropfest Arabia will be ‘STAR’.

Aspiring film makers across the region can submit their entries to Tropfest Arabia until 22nd September 2011. Judging will commence on 1st October 2011, with the 12 short-listed finalist films picked by a specialist jury announced on 16th October 2011. Those short listed films will then be premiered and screened at the Tropfest Arabia festival in Abu Dhabi, with a celebrity jury seeing the films live for the first time and picking the winner for 2011 at the beginning of November.

In order to be eligible to submit an entry, participants must be a citizen of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region including Algeria, Bahrain , Djibouti, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Oman, Palestinian Territories, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Tunisia, UAE and Yemen. Entrants must conform to the religious, cultural and political sensitivities of the region and films must be appropriate for public screening in Abu Dhabi.

Supporting Tropfest Arabia as the main sponsor is twofour54, the Abu Dhabi government initiative for the development of a world class Arabic media and entertainment content creation industry.

Commenting on the launch, Wayne Borg, Chief Operating Officer, twofour54, said: “We are delighted to be bringing Tropfest to the region as we believe that we share a common mission in our efforts to help young and aspiring film makers in their first step on the journey to fulfill a career ambition and unlock their potential. There is an abundance of talent in this region and, since short films are seen as the entry point to the film industry, we believe that this grass roots festival will provide a unique platform for emerging film makers.”

Further information on Tropfest Arabia including details on how to submit a film can be found at

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