Jackman brings Oz festival to US
Hugh Jackman is set to host New York's first instalment of Tropfest this weekend, billed as the world's largest short film festival.
Tropfest, the brainchild of director John Polson, started 20 years ago in Australia and draws more than 150,000 people each year. It has expanded to India, China, Paris and Las Vegas.
Hugh said one of his favourite things about the festival is its accessibility, with entries filmed on a mobile phone permitted.
"The movies are not judged on technical merit, because that's one way to make film very elitist," he added.
"It's not so much about that or the quality of the lens, but more the strength of the idea and the concept. Previously, it's people who may have been excluded or may not have the money, but they have the talent, and here they can show it."
The films must all be under seven minutes, but they have led to some impressive success stories. The idea for the FX series Wilfred starring Elijah Wood came from Tropfest. Actor Sam Worthington of Avatar competed in the festival in 2000 and won Best Actor.
Hugh reckons Tropfest is perfect for someone who wants to break into show business.
"When I first graduated from drama school, I knew the statistics that 98 percent of actors were unemployed. I vowed to myself that every day I would do something for my career. I wasn't going to sit back. I was going to actively get out there and participate. Here is a way that anyone can contribute. There's no whining, 'But I'm a filmmaker it's so difficult, I can't get an agent,'" he said.
"Forget it, (if) you've got a mobile phone, you can make a film, you can enter."
Winners for Best Film, Best Actor and Best Actress will be chosen on Saturday.