february 16, 2016
It's the Sydney festival that very nearly didn't go ahead due to financial difficulties.
But on Sunday night, Tropfest Australia kicked off without a hitch as Hollywood heavyweight Mel Gibson, Mentalist star Simon Baker and Logie winner Rebecca Gibney turned out to judge the festival's 16 short film offerings.
A host of Australian stars also showed their support on the night, with Natalie Bassingthwaighte, Melissa Doyle and Home and Away star Philippa Northeast attending the festivities.
The actress gushed about her fellow judge to AAP, saying:
'He's lovely. He's very funny. I'm sure we're going to get a few laughs out of him.'
Meanwhile, Mel appeared to be heavily invested in his role as a judge as he sat back in a leather armchair with a portfolio of film details in front of him on the lawn area.
The actor pulled a series of faces, showing emotions from confused to anguish as he watched the finalist short films. As an Academy Award winning actor he is commonly on the other end of the judging panel, and as he sat among the crowd in the judges area he focused heavily on what he was watching.