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There Was Only One Female Finalist At Tropfest This Year

"Women were grossly under-represented tonight," said Simon Baker, and everyone else who was paying attention.

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The world's largest short film festival, Tropfest, returned to Sydney last night, which was great for the film industry and anyone who enjoys drinking wine on a Sunday.

The winners of the night were Daniel Campos and Spencer Susser, the directors behind animated film, Shiny. Much less celebrated however, was the work of female directors and actors, because well, there were hardly any of them there.

Spencer Susser / Daniel Cloud Campos

And by hardly any we mean you had to squint pretty damn hard to see a woman anywhere in the list of finalist directors. Prizes for cinematography, editing, scoring, screenwriting, VFX and sound design were also given out alongside the top award for best film, and awards for best actors.

Twenty-two-year-old Angela McCormack was the only female director with a film in the final 16. That's right. THE ONLY ONE.


Her film Tay Man, produced by Jessica Campbell (shown on the left of McCormack above) and Joel Perlgut, followed the fictional struggles of three Aussie blokes who are big fans of Taylor Swift.


And once the films began to play, this lack of representation was no longer the only issue Tropfest viewers were fast to call out.

Twitter: @petarinabug

Short film The ATM, featured two male characters ~hilariously~ conversing about the struggles of trying to rob women. The tricky issue being that females are more likely to gain the attention of passersby by calling "rape".

At the end of the evening, judge Simon Baker referenced the obvious under-representation of women, as he announced Natalie Bassingthwaighte winner of the Best Female Actress award.

Cassandra Hannagan / Getty Images

She won out against, well, nobody else. Because she was literally the only woman in a lead role.



Sadly, this isn’t the first year female leads and directors have been largely absent from the Tropfest short list. Since 2010, there have only been 18 female directors with finalist films.

But this problem doesn't stop with Tropfest. In fact, only 14% of the best performing Australian films in 2015 were directed by women.

Twitter: @ScreenAustralia

Hopefully signaling a change of focus for Australian film, Screen Australia last year announced a $5 million dollar program to help address the lack of women in film. A new target will see Screen Australia provide at least half its funding to female-led projects by 2018.