Cut! Prospect Park film fest takes 2014 off – Brooklyn Paper

Cut! Prospect Park film fest takes 2014 off

Smart Tap: This new water fountain in Prospect Park is specially designed for filling up bottles or containers. Five more of them will soon be added to the green space.
Photo by Stefano Giovannini

A short-film festival that took over Prospect Park’s Nethermead in 2013 won’t return this year, organizers said.

Tropfest, a globe-trotting movie marathon that started 21 years ago in Australia and bills itself as the world’s largest, made its Brooklyn debut last June over resistance from some park lovers who feared the crowds would ruin the grass and wreck their peace and quiet. The one-day event ended up drawing more than 20,000 cineastes and did not prompt the same level of outcry that caused the two-day music and food fest Great GoogaMooga to be canceled last fall, but it is taking this summer off to focus elsewhere and could return next year, according to a statement by Tropfest’s founder and head.

“The postponement is due to scheduling given the increased global footprint of the festival,” John Polson said. “Last year’s Brooklyn event was a great success and we’re already in discussion with partners for a Tropfest NY 2015, hopefully back at Prospect Park.”

Polson postponed the picture show to focus on “Elementary,” the television series he produces about a modern-day Sherlock Holmes character, a spokeswoman said earlier.

GoogaMooga’s exit was more ignominious. The foodie and music-fan bonanza got the boot from the parks department in October after two years in the park. Each of the parties attracted tens of thousands of revelers and left the greensward’s fields scarred and litter-strewn.

Park advocates decried the big-ticket shindig and others like it, including a Nickelodeon-sponsored kids fest, saying that the crowds, loud noise, and commercialism have no place in Brooklyn’s backyard.

The Prospect Park Alliance, a private group that manages the green space, argues that such events are crucial to funding park operations. A park rep dismissed the notion that GoogaMooga’s exile or Tropfest’s hiatus have anything to do with the kvetching that the events provoked.

“It’s not accurate to say GoogaMooga was cancelled. It just isn’t coming back,” said Eric Landau, vice president of government and external affairs for the Alliance.

And most everybody loved Tropfest, he claimed.

“It was a fantastic event in the park,” he said. “The public reacted well to it.”

A Prospect Lefferts Gardens resident and park regular begged to differ.

“While the Park Alliance will never admit the backlash as a significant factor, it is clear it played a role” in GoogaMooga’s cancellation, Noel Hefele said.

As for Tropfest, it was smaller, but still a bitter pill to swallow, he said.

“Twenty thousand people in the Nethermead is not great, but the event was brief in comparison,” he said.

The Alliance made $75,000 from GoogaMooga, $41,500 from Tropfest, and $150,000 from Nickelodeon last year.

— with Max Jaeger

Reach reporter-in-training Hannah Frishberg at (718) 260-4514. E-mail her at hfrishberg@gmail.com.

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