It’s a sad state of affairs when Tropfest judges succumb to picking a cheap laugh 2:45 minute viral vid as winner.
Look, I’m all for a laugh. Animal Beatbox. I get it. It’s animals. And it’s a beatbox that’s kinda almost half as good as that guy busking in Melbourne last weekend on Swanston street. It’s entertaining, yes. As far as great YouTube gems go for a bored Thursday night, it might definitely sit in my top 250. The last few seconds where it transparently attempts to connect itself to a meaningful point about respecting the animal kingdom is totally award-worthy.
Some are saying the main reason Damon Gameau won is because, being an actor on Underbelly and Balibo, he had a slew of judging-panel peers all pushing his entry through to the finalists. Is it all just coincidence he was also on How I Met Your Mother (as little more than an extra)… how exactly does one land these sorts of high-exposure gigs unless you have some serious connections in the industry?
Animal Beatbox’s win is clearly all thanks to YouTube. Tropfest sold it’s soul this year, allowing, for the first time, the winning short to be decided largely by the general public based on YouTube views. So we have the 12 shortlisted films flung into the impatient, instant-gratification-hungry world of YouTube, many of whom appreciate nothing about what goes into pushing the medium of short film. Surprise surprise, “the funny vid”, the only video well within YouTube’s typically “short enough to share on Facebook & Twitter” duration, is the one with the most views. By a mile. For the first time, masterpieces few bother to watch online are eclipsed by the cheap unthinking Internet meme revolution.
Break that YouTube mould and watch some of the other finalists over 3 and a half minutes long. Focus, Silencer (starring one of the Umbilicle Brothers), Missing Her. If you still think Animal Beatbox kills all that talent, go ahead and make me eat my words.
Read more about the winning submission:
KING OF TROPFEST – ANIMAL BEATBOX – Tropfest – The World’s Largest Short Film Festival.
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