Mel Gibson Will Be Tropfest’s Celebrity Judge in 2016

Did you know that Mel Gibson played the voice of John Smith in Disney’s Pocahontas back in 1995? Well he did, and it’s just one of the many reasons that the Aussie actor has been recruited as a celebrity guest judge for this year’s Tropfest 2016. That, and his ability to produce, direct and make a lasting imprint on the acting industry as we know it. Yeah, that too.

Going down on Sunday at Sydney’s Centennial Park this Sunday, February 14, Tropfest organisers have today confirmed that the 60-year-old will be a member of the short-film festival’s judging panel, joining fellow expat Simon Baker, home-grown actress Rebecca Gibney, cinematographer Don McAlpine and The Dressmaker director Jocelyn Moorhouse. 


Exciting news! Today we announced Actor & Director Mel Gibson will be joining Simon Baker, Rebecca Gibney, Don McAlpine and Jocelyn Moorhouse on the judging panel this Sunday Feb 14!#LoveTropfest

Posted by Tropfest on Wednesday, 10 February 2016

Gibson, who is in town directing World War II drama Hacksaw Ridge, told News Corp that it's a pleasure to support the event and its initiatives. “Tropfest has been doing an incredible job over the last 23 years as a platform for young filmmakers and I’m absolutely delighted to support the great work Tropfest is doing," he explained.

“I know what it’s like to be starting out in this industry, in Australia, and what a big difference a break can make to a career.’’  The festival's founder, John Polson, shares the sentiment, saying that Mel's contribution this year is an "enormous honour". He told News Corp, “Mel is one of Australia’s most prolific and talented actors as well as an Academy Award-winning director. It doesn’t get better than this.”

Given his, ah, colourful history, this is definitely going to be interesting.  Still, it's not a bad feat considering Tropfest was cancelled last November, announcing that it was in debt. Thankfully for appreciators of creativity everywhere, CGU Insurance helped a brother out in what Polson called "the comeback story of the decade". Tropfest will include 16 finalists with a winner chosen by the celebrity judging panel in the VIP tent. In additional to a pretty sweet fruit trophy, the winner will also receive $10,000, a trip to LA to meet with industry execs, a Hyundai Tucson for a year and a Nikon D800 with lenses and accessories. Not bad, eh? If you can't get down to Centennial Park on Sunday, catch all the action live on SBS 2.