Ben McCarthy (NSW) has won Trop Jr, the biggest short film festival for little people with a big imagination. Ben’s winning entry was Bumper, a claymation film about a frog who can’t jump.
One of the youngest of 16 finalists, 12 year old Ben is passionate about filmmaking, and spent most of the day today grilling Sam Worthington about Hollywood and how to make it in the film industry. Inspired by last year’s Trop Jr runner up the I Think You Stink Show, McCarthy’s Bumper is the only Claymation entry to make it to the finals this year at Trop Jr.
McCarthy says the film took him six months, which included making the figures entirely on his desk at home and creating a really huge mess. He has aptly named his future production company “Messy Desk Productions”. His inspiration to work with Claymation came from the creator of Wallace and Gromit, Nick Park.
The Trop Jr Signature Item for 2014 was also announced: next year it will be “Monster”, which should inspire some fun ideas from budding young filmmakers. Trop Jr follows the same structure as Tropfest: the film must be seven minutes or less and contain a reference to the TSI.
This year’s Trop Jr winner was awarded $2000 cash and a $500 ticket voucher, $1800 worth of AFTRS Open short courses and a PlayStationVita LittleBigPlanet bundle. McCarthy can’t wait to tell all his friends at boarding school about it!
‘The Screen Seekers Club’ was awarded the runner-up prize for their horror-comedy-mockumentary How to Make a Horror Movie. The club, made up of six boys aged 12-15 from South Australia didn’t even know each other until their parents brought them together to collaborate on this project. They cite Scream and Chuckie as their favourite slasher films.
Harri Gilbert (NSW) also picked up a runner-up prize for Where’s My Sandwich? The 15 year old won the Trop Jr Fearless Filmmaking prize last year and loves telling stories and making films. His film explored the trials and tribulations of a teenager who has lost his sandwich.
The runner-up winners took away prizes of $750 worth of short courses at Metro Screen.
Trop Jr was judged by actor Sean Keenan, author and presenter Gretel Killeen, actress Samara Weaving and children’s entertainer Sam Moran.
Tropfest managing director Michael Laverty was delighted by this year’s Trop Jr selection. “I’m always so excited to see the finalist entries for Trop Jr,” he said. “Their incredible talent and creativity is a great sign for the future of film in Australia.”
The young audience and their families enjoyed a day of entertainment in the sunshine with Australia’s Got Talent dance wonders Ziggity Crew breaking loose on the stage and host Ash London keeping things moving.
This year’s Trop Jr finalist films spanned many genres, from drama to comedy to documentary, and showcased a huge amount of talent and technical skill.