The Northern Territory will be well represented at this year’s Tropfest with the announcement that Alice Springs-based musician, Ben Allen, is the winner of the APRA Tropscore competition. Meanwhile, Tropfest’s first ever Northern Territory finalist, Samantha Young, will compete in the third annual Telstra Mobile Masterpiece program.

Allen beat out almost 900 other entrants, who were required to compose an original score to Australian filmmaker Amelia Olsen-Boyd’s three minute short Returning. The win delivered a $5000 cash prize as well as the opportunity to perform his score live onstage at Movie Extra Tropfest, which will be held at The Domain in Sydney on Sunday, February 19.

A prolific songwriter, Allen performs under two banners – Yellow Streetlight, an electronic act incorporating homemade samples of household objects, and Broadwing, a more conventional, guitar-driven project.

“Tropscore is a great opportunity for anyone with an interest in scoring”, Allen said. “As a songwriter, I entered Tropscore to see whether I was able to write a score. Now I have the funds to buy studio equipment and the chance to speak to people in the film industry.”

Founder and director of Tropfest, John Polson, hailed the new partnership with APRA a success. “We’ve had more entries for Tropscore this year than any of our previous years. Because of APRA’s connections and reputation we were able to reach out to even more emerging musicians.”

The Tropscore finalists were assessed by a judging panel, which included Dave Faulkner (Hoodoo Gurus), film composer Lisa Gerrard (Gladiator, The Insider), composer Burkhard Dallwitz (Underbelly, The Truman Show), APRA award-winning screen composer Ben Speed and APRA Feature Film Score of the Year winner Jed Kurzel.

The judging panel also selected two Tropscore runners-up: film and television composer, James Wingrove, and music student, Jayden Lawrence.

Fellow Territorian, Samantha Young, has become Tropfest’s first ever finalist from the Northern Territory with her short film Smokers are People Too which will compete in the Telstra Mobile Masterpiece program.

Young will face stiff competition from her fellow finalists: filmmaking duo Christian Doran and John Frohlich and Tropfest veteran, Jason Van Genderen, who won 2008 Tropfest NY and was runner up in 2011’s Movie Extra Tropfest.

Smokers are People Too, a satirical look at the social taboos of being a smoker, was filmed on the streets of Darwin over a period of just seven days. It will compete against Van Genderen’s look into the life of a single dad and Doran and Frohlich’s dramatic film about a father passing on advice to his son.

The three Telstra Mobile Masterpieces will compete for $5000 in cash.

The films will be shown as a part of the Tropfest festival and screened live on Sunday, February 19 to an anticipated audience of 150,000 at free outdoor public events across Australia.

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