Short 'n' sweet

Written By miftah nugraha on Minggu, 17 Februari 2013 | 19.55

CAN'T WAIT: Tropfest actor/director/writer Ella Watkins, left, and actor Sara Cooper ready for the Salamanca Square screening. Picture: SAM ROSEWARNE

HOBART film-lovers are in for a treat this afternoon and evening with perfect weather and a free, open-air venue to enjoy the country's best short films.

Thousands are expected in Salamanca Square as Tropfest, the world's largest short film festival, is screened live from Sydney's Royal Botanic Gardens.

A consortium of local businesses and funding by Screen Tasmania ensured the popular event would go ahead again this year, with fans watching on a screen four times bigger than last year thanks to venue sponsor TasIVF.

There are 16 finalists in this year's Tropfest, all featuring the compulsory "Tropfest signature item", which this year is "balloon".

There are no Tasmanian films in this year's final lineup, but two local shorts were shortlisted -- Dingleberry and The Book of Memories.

Ella Watkins, 17, from West Hobart, who wrote, directed and starred in The Book of Memories, is thrilled to have been shortlisted for the prestigious film festival.

"It was just the most amazing thing," she said. "I started out as an actor, but three years ago after watching Tropfest I decided I really wanted to be in the festival, so I made a film of my own."

Sara Cooper, who had roles in both shortlisted Tasmanian films, said there was a huge amount of talent among local filmmakers.

"I can't believe a Tasmanian film has never made it to the finals, but I'm sure one will very soon," she said.

The screening begins at 2pm with the Trop Jr films by filmmakers under 15, and screening of the main Tropfest event 7pm.

Entry is free. Viewers have a chance to win a return trip for two to the Gold Coast.

Tropfest 2013 also screens tonight on SBS1 from 8.30pm.

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