It’s the Sydney festival that very nearly didn’t go ahead due to financial difficulties.
But on Sunday night, Tropfest Australia kicked off without a hitch as Hollywood heavyweight Mel Gibson, Mentalist star Simon Baker and Logie winner Rebecca Gibney turned out to judge the festival’s 16 short film offerings.
A host of Australian stars also showed their support on the night, with Natalie Bassingthwaighte, Melissa Doyle and Home and Away star Philippa Northeast attending the festivities.
Having a trop night! Tropfest Australia went ahead on Sunday night in Sydney after it was initially cancelled in November last year and judge Mel Gibson appeared happy to take part in the festival
In good company: Mel was joined on the star studded judging panel by Mentalist star Simon Baker and Logie winner Rebecca Gibney
While Rebecca and Mel looked like old friends as they posed together, the two had only just met backstage before they hit the red carpet.
The actress gushed about her fellow judge to AAP and said, ‘He’s lovely. He’s very funny. I’m sure we’re going to get a few laughs out of him.’
New friends: The blonde star had only just met Mel Gibson backstage before they walked the red carpet at Centennial Park
Rebecca is no stranger to the festival, as she has previously been a judge in 2013.
The actress admitted that there is a bigger significance to being a part of it this year and said: ‘It means a lot because it’s celebrating emerging film makers so we really need to keep it.
‘And it’s great, obviously Sydney cares because they’re showing up in droves.’
She was right, as a host of Australian faces attended the even held on Valentine’s Day.
Showing her support: A host of Australian’s attended the festival in a show of support including Natalie Bassingthwaighte who wore a stylish boho inspired frock
Natalie Bassingthwaighte hit the red carpet in a casual boho inspired frock with a thigh skimming hemline.
The star wore her blonde tresses loosely curled, and showed off her eyes with a subtle smokey eye makeup look.
She posed with one hand on her hip, and finished her look with suede boots and a striped backpack.
Lady in black: Melissa Doyle looked elegant on the red carpet in an all black ensemble belted at the waist to accentuate her figure
Casual and cool: Home and Away star Philippa Northeast opted for a pair of casual beige shorts and a high neck black singlet in a similar silky fabric
Channel Seven News reporter Melissa Doyle looked elegant in an all black ensemble for her night at the festival.
Her skirt and singlet combination was belted at the waist to accentuate her figure, and she paired the look with sky high strappy stilettos.
Home and Away star Philippa Northeast put on a leggy display in a pair of silky beige shorts.
She teamed the shorts with a high neck black singlet and a pair of casual ankle boots.
Classic style: Alyssa McCLelland (L) and Sarah Wiseman (R) looked stylish on the red carpet as they both opted for dark colours and classic cuts
Fancy seeing you here: Tropfest junior judge Olivia Phyland stepped onto the red carpet in a stylish boho style maxi dress with a revealing split at the thigh
Concentration: Mel appeared to be heavily invested in his role as a judge as he sat back in a leather armchair with a portfolio of film details in front of him
Mel appeared to be heavily invested in his role as a judge as he sat back in a leather armchair with a portfolio of film details in front of him on the lawn area.
The actor pulled a series of faces, showing emotions from confused to anguish as he watched the finalist short films.
As an Academy Award winning actor he is commonly on the other end of the judging panel, and as he sat amongst the crowd in the judges area he focused heavily on what he was watching.
Invested: The actor pulled a series of faces, showing emotions from confused to anguish as he watched the finalist short films
Focus: As an Academy Award winning actor he is commonly on the other end of the judging panel, and focused heavily on what he was watching
After 23 years the festival was cancelled due to financial difficulties and the alleged mismanagement of funds.
Major sponsor CGU insurance stepped in and saved the day, to make sure that the iconic film festival went ahead.
Founder and director of the festival, John Polson revealed to AAP that he was relieved it had all gone ahead.
‘Usually when we get down here if the weather’s OK and the crowd is here there’s a sense of relief.
‘This is a big one, though, because of what happened. For most of the last three months it was hard to know if we’d get here at all,’ he said.
Happy: Founder and director of the festival, John Polson (left) revealed to AAP that he was relieved it had all gone ahead after the initial cancellation of Tropfest