Friday June 22, 2012

NEW YORK-- Hugh Jackman is sharing his plans for this weekend. He’s hosting New York’s first installment of Tropfest, billed as the world’s largest short film festival. It’s free and open to the public.

Tropfest is the brainchild of director John Polson. It started 20 years ago in Australia and is now an annual event that draws more than 150,000 attendees.

In a recent interview Jackman said one of his favorite things about the festival is its accessibility. Entries can be filmed on a mobile phone.

"(If) you’ve got a mobile phone you can make a film, you can enter," Jackman said. "It’s open to absolutely everybody. It’s a great way for me to support the arts and anybody who wants to can get involved."

The entries for New York’s inaugural Tropfest have been narrowed down to eight finalists. Saturday’s event in Bryant Park will screen each of the films which all feature what’s called the Tropfest Signature Item (it changes for each installment and location of Tropfest.) The required item for New York’s first Tropfest is the bagel.

Also on Saturday, a panel of celebrity judges will pick best film, best actor and best actress. The winner for best film gets $20,000 from The Motion Picture Association and a week of meetings with industry types like studio execs, agents and managers.