It is impossible to stop Tropfest, though the gods of chance and chaos and funding have tried. This year the whole thing has been physically transplanted.
Image: The object this year is a pineapple. Here it chases the 2016 crowd away from Centennial Park to be rescued ultimately by Pineapple Express carrying them west from Central Station.
Parramatta is the physical centre of Sydney. Parramatta has a lovely park. Parramatta is just a place, while Tropfest is a vision.
The filmmakers don't care, because they seek only the discipline of a competition, the chance to shine before an audience, and the deep reinforcement of their own self-respect. After all, 2011 winner Alathea Jones has just launched her first feature - an American film no less - at Sundance to some reasonable reviews.
There is no sense that Tropfest is a bit worn out by the ructions of the last few years, in which founder John Polson disconnected from the management company in an unhappy dispute about money. The hunt for a sustaining sponsor was successful and all is well.
Across this week, from Tuesday Feb 7 at 7pm, the TropTalks educational program, sustained by the Western Sydney University, is bringing out the Tropfest alumni and industry experts to discuss some key issues. Animal Logic's Zareh Nalbandian talking about innovation will be a treat, kept on his veteran toes by working creators immersed in contemporary digital advances, like Guy Norris from Proxi VR.
Sam Lang, the President of the Australian Directors' Guild will be unleashed to talk about diversity with Nerida Moore (Screen Australia), Debra Richards (CEO of Ausfilm) and Marian Macgowan (producer) as the industry names. Included here is Lena Nalhous, who runs Diversity Arts Australia, to add culture, colour and class to the discussion.
The week ramps up with an Alumni event in TropTalks, an opening night party with the finalists, all 32 of them, with lemonade for the Tropfest junior nominees, the craft awards and Tropfest Jnr, in the park from midday on Friday.
The actual event starts at 12pm on Saturday 11 Feb with music. The actual screenings start at dusk because sunlight gets in the way.
Here is the ultimate difference between Tropfest this year and the past. The deal with Parramatta Park is essentially about a family fun venue used during the day so the fest has extended to take advantage of and showcase that fact and get new audience of Sydney Easterlings to understand the glories of the Sunset Suburbs.
For the rest of us, scattered across Australia, the television coverage has been captured by Ten, which will broadcast it on Eleven at 8.30, and streamed on Tenplay.
The films don't seem to be available on the net yet though the full list of finalists is here. Half are women, which is pretty fine.
On the jury we find George Miller, Rachel Perkins, Bruna Papandrea, Sam Neill and jury head Rose Byrne.
Details are on the site.
It is now possible to bet on the Tropfest result. The current Sportsbet table looks like this:
Tropfest - Winner
$3.50 Accomplice - Michael Noonan
$4.00 The Wall -Tristan Klein and Nick Baker
$6.00 The Birth - Sarah Hatherley
$7.50 Diary of a Youtuber - Holly Hargreaves
$7.50 Talc - Jefferson Grainger
$9.00 Meet and Potatoes - Arielle Thomas and Ellenor Argyropoulos
$11.00 Another Olga - Cecilia Rumore
$16.00 The Beekepers - James Dewhirst Prineas
$16.00 Going Vego - Hannah Bath, Christopher Burke and Mikey Owen
$16.00 Love, Steve - Alex Roberts
$21.00 The Mother Situation - Matt Day
$21.00 Service Update - Olly Sindle
$21.00 Mutonia Burnout - Engene E NRG
$26.00 Passenger - Catherine Mack
$34.00 Wibble Wobble - Daphne Do
$34.00 Can I Sh#t in Peace? - Julia Morris
We will know by the end of Saturday whether betting can accurately predict collective human decisions about an art form.