With headlines in the press leading into the festival like, “Can Tropfest make its big comeback”, and “Film Festival faces crucial test” the pressure was on.
Add to this, predictions of the highest temperatures in history leading into and during the Festival, there was a great deal of anxiety building.
But, we did it!! So, today I sit and reflect on the last 16 months of working to rebuild Tropfest. I helped create a strategic approach to the future, negotiated to secure long-term partnerships and establish destination partners that will enable Tropfest to develop and grow well into the future!
Tropfest transformations over the last 16 months:
- Transformed the strategic direction of Tropfest by building the 2020 strategy, then aided the transition of the business to a Not For Profit and introduction of a Board.
- The 2020 strategy and plan re-established the Tropfest brand in the marketplace enabling it to rebound, while re-engaging with the Industry in a big way.
- Led the successful negotiation of multi-year partnerships with great brands (and teams), in it for the long haul with a genuine connection with the Tropfest audience.
- Reshaped the commercial model to create diversified revenue streams, including the ability for fans to buy a ticket for the first time ever – Pick Your Patch – enabling fans to arrive when they want!
- Impacted the diversity of filmmakers by introducing an Inclusion Framework, with a transparent judging process. Leading to 50% female representation of the 16 Tropfest Finalist for the first time in its 25-year history.
- Strengthened Tropfest’s position as a global innovator by securing a world first broadcast deal with Red Bull TV and created a Tropfest first with a 3-way broadcast (on Channel 11, RBTV and live in Parramatta Park).
- Expanded the program to make Tropfest a 5-day Festival, creating new programs and opportunities for filmmakers to share their stories, learn from others in the industry and collaborate with those with a love of film.
- Finally, we pulled a crowd of over 35,000 on the hottest day on record in Parramatta Park to enjoy short films made by emerging artists!
Thank you to the team I have worked with along the way, especially Ben Bartlett, Scott Young, our internal team, the Board and the extended partner team – it’s been an incredible experience. To John Polson, thank you for the trust and faith you placed in me (and Ben) to share the custodianship of this amazing brand in delivering all that we have.
For Tropfest 25, not everything worked, some things were ahead of their time, but so many things were transformational for Tropfest. I truly believe, if Tropfest can fill a park on the hottest day in history, the future is very bright indeed. I proudly say I have helped to secure the future of the World’s Largest Short Film Festival. I am extremely excited for the future and I look forward to watching it grow and grow.