I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – I love time travel stories. Whether they be mad adventures like we get with Doctor Who and the Back to the Future franchise or something more subdued and romantic like The Time Traveler’s Wife I’m always fascinated by the way the possibilities are handled. Time travel is simply one of my favorite science fiction subjects, usually because of the way the stories deal with potential paradoxes.
In the independent short film Time, writer/director Liam Connor takes a very simplistic approach to the subject. One of the finalists for best picture at Tropfest 2013 in Australia, Time centers on a group of teenage school children discussing what the rules of time travel might be. One of the boys, James (Nicholas Hamilton, winner Best Male Actor Tropfest 2013), has something on his mind. He wonders aloud with his friends what might happen if one of their future selves discovered a way to travel back in time and how that would affect their lives.
Time Travel, it is easier done than said.
Yes, that’s it for the synopsis. While it’s really more of a tagline than a short summary about the film, it’ll make a lot more sense after you’ve watched the short.
Writer/director Liam Connor has crafted an engrossing tale focusing on character rather than action and it works perfectly. There are no outward signs that Time is anything more than a study of kids discussing what might happen if time travel were possible, but it draws you in and keeps your attention better than many big-budget blockbusters can. And like many good tales, there’s a twist at the end that reveals the true nature of James’ questions about time.
After a brief stint studying Environmental Science, Liam followed his true passion and completed a Diploma of Film and TV at the Queensland School of Film and Television in 1999. He has shot three films overseas but Time is his first dialogue-based film. He grew up on an avocado farm in the Tweed Valley where he now lives when not working elsewhere.
If you haven’t heard of Tropfest before, it’s the world’s largest short film festival. Tropfest was started by John Polson, an award-winning actor and director, initially as a way to screen one of his own short films at the Tropicana Cafe in Sydney. After more than two hundred people showed up, Polson decided to create the festival that was originally known as the Tropicana Short Film Festival.
Tropfest has since expanded to include New Zealand, the United States (New York and Las Vegas), and Tropfest Arabia which is open to filmmakers in the Middle East and North Africa. There are ongoing discussions to open Tropfest in China, Singapore, Paris, London and more venues. Today, in Australia alone, a single night’s event at Tropfest can attract an audience of more than 150,000 people. That’s an impressive crowd.
Tropfest is a free event, meaning you don’t have to pay to attend. It’s an outdoor event with live music and entertainment, food, bars, a red carpet event, and, of course, film screenings. Even though it’s huge, it retains a casual feel which is one of the things patrons and guests find most appealing about it.
According to their site, Tropfest has a different way of getting submissions for its film festivals:
The annual short film competition is open to anyone who wishes to enter – regardless of their background or experience. 16 Finalists are selected from an entry pool of an average 700 annual entries and compete for more than $100,000 in prizes. Tropfest films are unique in that they have all been made specifically for Tropfest, will premiere at Tropfest and include the Tropfest Signature Item (or TSI), which changes each year. The TSI for Tropfest 2012 was “LIGHT BULB” and the TSI for the 2013 festival is “BALLOON”.