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Tropfest NZ Winner Heads To Hollywood Courtesy Of MPA

  • 28Jan 2013

NEW ZEALAND/SINGAPORE: On January 27, Dave Smith was awarded top prize at Tropfest New Zealand – the world’s largest short film festival, winning a trip to Hollywood to meet film industry executives, producers and LA-based film organizations thanks to the Motion Picture Association (MPA) and the New Zealand Federation Against Copyright Theft (NZFACT).

Dave Smith’s short film, Cappuccino Tango, was a hit with judges and the thousands of film lovers who turned out for New Zealand’s Tropfest night of films at the TSB Bowl of Brooklands, New Plymouth. Smith’s musical film, a huge crowd favourite, told the story of two lonely decaf coffee drinkers who manage to find love in a café surrounded by hostile coffee lovers.

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The top prize was presented by Tropfest judge, John Barnett, who gave the winning film a glowing endorsement: “It really was a crowd-pleaser, and we thought it delivered on every front. In competitions like this, it’s great to have a film that really brings the audience with you. There were some nice surprises in the film which did things we haven’t seen in a short film before. This festival has been terrific. People prove their enthusiasm and their willingness and wish to be in the film industry when they enter competitions like Tropfest. They’re not getting paid to do them; they use their own resources; their own money, and what we saw tonight was really terrific.”

Winning director Dave Smith said, “I was utterly blown away when my name was called out. It was great to get a nice reaction to the film, but when I saw the other films I realised this was going to be a tough competition. I must say, that while I am the director, this film was very much a team effort. Going to LA will be an amazing experience and something that we’re really looking forward to.”

Tropfest NZ Ambassador and actor Martin Henderson, said, “It is my hope that the attention and experience garnered from winning the MPA first-prize trip to Los Angeles will help kick start the filmmaker’s career and he will go on to create many other successful films both in New Zealand and overseas.”

Tropfest director John Polson said, “Our aim with Tropfest has always been to recognise promising new filmmaking talent and provide them with a launching pad to develop their careers. Amazingly, the filmmakers are always surprising us with the quality of their films, with their diverse storytelling ability and the enterprising way they tell their story, and that’s exactly what we’ve experienced here in New Zealand. Dave Smith is a great Kiwi talent, who I’m sure has a very promising career in the screen industry ahead of him. The trip to Los Angeles, provided by the MPA and NZFACT, is an invaluable experience for our winning filmmakers, and we thank them for supporting the great creative talent both here and around the region.”

Tony Eaton, Managing Director NZFACT said, “Kudos to the Taranaki Arts Festival Trust for staging such a great event, and putting short filmmaking on the map in NZ. We’re delighted to be able to support Kiwi filmmakers at the early stages of their career, and Tropfest proves that we have a wealth of new talent who look likely to create some great entertainment for audiences in the future. Dave Smith’s film was a standout among some top quality films, and we hope that his trip to Los Angeles later this year helps him to build a successful career in the movie business.”

To view Cappuccino Tango and the other Tropfest NZ films please click here

On 13 December 2012, Tropfest founder John Polson was awarded the Asia Pacific Copyright Educator (ACE) Award at CineAsia, the largest convention for cinema exhibitors and distributors in Asia. The award acknowledged Polson’s work raising awareness about the value of screen content, and the need to provide a strong copyright framework for filmmakers, not least those at the beginning of their creative careers.


About Tropfest
Tropfest is the world’s largest short film festival. It began in a Sydney café (‘The Tropicana’) 20 years ago with a single $100 short film and an audience of 200 people. Today the Australian free event is attended annually by a live audience of over 150,000 film-lovers and hundreds of thousands more watching via its national, live TV broadcast and other platforms. Tropfest has recently launched in New Zealand, Arabia, and other territories, with China, South East Asia and more in planning stages. In 2012, launched the USA with Tropfest Las Vegas and Tropfest New York.

In the past two decades, Tropfest has become known as one of the world’s most exciting launch-pads for emerging filmmakers. Tropfest is also known for securing the support of some of the biggest names in the international film community. Tropfest USA’s Official Ambassadors include Hugh Jackman, Liev Schreiber, Russell Crowe, Nicole Kidman, Geoffrey Rush, Charles Randolph and Anthony Lapaglia. The Tropfest YouTube Channel has had over 11 million video views, with around 40% of those coming from the United States. The Channel provides film enthusiasts the chance to watch the top films from past festivals, click here

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About the MPA: Promoting & Protecting Screen Communities in Asia Pacific

The Motion Picture Association (MPA) and the Motion Picture Association International (MPA-I) represent the interests of the six international producers and distributors of filmed entertainment. To do so, they promote and protect the intellectual property rights of these companies and conduct public awareness programs to highlight to movie fans around the world the importance of content protection. These activities have helped to transform entire markets benefiting film and television industries in each country including foreign and local filmmakers alike.

The organizations act on behalf of the members of the Motion Picture Association of America, Inc (MPAA) which include; Paramount Pictures Corporation; Sony Pictures Entertainment Inc.; Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation; Universal City Studios LLC; Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures; and Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. The MPA and the MPA-I have worldwide operations which are directed from their head offices in Los Angeles and Washington, D.C. and overseen in the Asia Pacific by a team based in Singapore. For more information about the MPA, please visit