Worthington and SBS sign up for Tropfest
Independent spirit ... John Polson.
The short film festival that began in a Darlinghurst cafe is continuing to expand.
Tropfest will have its first free-to-air live telecast as well as new events around the world this year.
Its founder, John Polson, said SBS had agreed to broadcast the short film festival on February 17, a move considered as an upgrade from the former pay television coverage on the defunct Movie Network.
''This is a first for us,''he said. ''Many years ago we had a relationship with Channel Nine but nothing like live. So the combination of live and free-to-air is just a huge moment.''
Polson believes SBS's coverage will massively increase the television audience for the festival, which takes place in The Domain with live satellite feeds to sites around the country.
Established as the Tropicana Short Film Festival in 1993, it aims to celebrate short film-making and provide a platform for emerging talent.
''Nothing against the commercial networks but SBS is not a full commercial network in that sense and that allows Tropfest to keep the sort of independent spirit we've spent 21 years nurturing,'' Polson said.
Just back from last weekend's first New Zealand Tropfest, which attracted 8500 people in New Plymouth, North Island, Polson confirmed there will be another Tropfest New York in June and Tropfest Arabia in Abu Dhabi in October.
''There are one or two others that we've signed the deal but haven't announced,'' he said. ''And there are at least a couple more that we're in advanced discussion about.''
With the locations under discussion believed to include China, Singapore, Paris and London, Polson said the plan was to have a Tropfest somewhere in the world every six weeks.
Sam Worthington announced as judge
Australian actor Sam Worthington will be returning home from Hollywood to attend Tropfest.
Worthington, who shot to international fame with his role in Avatar, has been confirmed as a Tropfest judge.
He'll also speak at Tropfest Roughcut, a talk-fest aimed at emerging filmmakers, on February 16.
Worthington will join a line-up which includes Rebecca Gibney, Gyton Grantley and Magda Szubanski attending this year's festival final.
The West Australian actor, who was most recently seen in Man on a Ledge, Wrath of the Titans and The Debt, will star in the action thriller For the Dogs with director and compatriot Phillip Noyce.
Worthington's association with Tropfest includes winning the Best Actor Award in 2001 as well as entering several successful films.
Tropfest will cover three days of screenings, parties and the film-maker symposium Tropfest Roughcut from February 15.