Haute Event: Tropfest Celebrates 20 Years with Its First Short Film Festival at the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas

Toni Colette, Tobey Maguire, James Woods and Anthony LaPaglia

The world’s largest short film festival, Tropfest, wrapped up its first festival in Las Vegas on Sunday. The festival served as a celebration of Tropfest’s 20th official birthday during a weekend  of free, mostly outdoor events at the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas.

Tropfest’s “All-Star Competition” on Sunday night began with a frenzy of activity as the competition’s celebrity attendees made their arrival via a black carpet. Those in attendance included the competition’s host Rob Corddry (The Daily Show, Hot Tub Time Machine, Childrens Hospital), president of the jury Toni Collette (Jesus Henry Christ, United States of Tara), jurors Rebel Wilson (Bridesmaids, What To Expect When You’re Expecting), Anthony LaPaglia (Without a Trace, Happy Feet), Griffin Dunne (House of Lies, An American Werewolf in London), Charles Randolph (writer/producer, Love And Other Drugs, The Interpreter) and Trevor Groth (Sundance Director of Programming).  Also in attendance at the festival was actor Tobey Maguire, James Woods, Jason Gann (Wilfred) and Abbie Cornish (Somersault, Sucker Punch).

Sixteen films representing some of the best Tropfest entries of the past two decades vied for the top prize at the “All-Star Competition.” The films, each less than seven minutes in length, were hand-picked by Tropfest founder and acclaimed director John Polson (Hide & Seek, Tenderness) and represented a wide cross section of work.  In the end, “The Story of Bubble Boy” directed by Sean Ascroft was declared the winner of the inaugural competition.  The film, which features a sad outcast wrestling with his demons, is about being trapped by the past and redeemed by the future.

Singer-songwriter-artist LP closed out the “All-Star Competition” with a spirited performance highlighted by ear-catching vocals.

The festivities kicked off on Friday, June 1 with a Tropfest welcome party and musical performance by R&B / Soul artist Allen Stone at casino floor hotspot Book & Stage.  Stone’s expertly crafted, evocative songs and fresh, smooth, soul-filled voice got the capacity crowd moving and excited for the weekend ahead.

Saturday night (June 2) saw Tropfest’s 20th Birthday Party at the Boulevard Pool, an intimate outdoor venue perched high above the heart of the Las Vegas Strip. The party began with a special “Road to Vegas” screening featuring films submitted by amateur short film makers centering on the theme of traveling to Las Vegas. The top six entries were shown, including the first prize submission by Rakitha Perera, who won a three-night stay at the Cosmopolitan and VIP entrance to Tropfest Las Vegas.

The party continued with screenings of specially curated short film content that gave festival goers a taste of Tropfest’s rich 20 year history, including celebrated filmmaker Nash Edgerton’s award-winning short films “Spider” and sequel, “Bear.” Indie-spirited Delta Spirit, who are set to play Bonnaroo and Lollapalooza this summer, took to the stage following the screenings and continued the party late into the night.

Click on the photos below to enlarge.

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