The first leg of Tropfest’s US debut ended with the coronation of the “Best of Tropfest” winner, Sean Ascroft, who beat out 15 other “best of” Tropfest finalists for the coveted title. Tropfest – the world’s largest short film festival – captivated the United States with a weekend of activities and free events at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas commemorating the festival’s 20th birthday celebration.  An event highlight was the screening of 16 of the best short films from Tropfest’s revered history, judged by an all-star panel including Toni Collette (President of the Jury), Tobey Maguire, Rebel Wilson, Anthony LaPaglia, Griffin Dunne, James Woods, Charles Randolph and Trevor Groth, hosted by Rob Corddry.

Sean Ascroft and his film, The Story of Bubble Boy, won the Motion Picture Association-sponsored first prize of $5,000. His film about a sad outcast wrestling with his demons captured the hearts and minds of the jury and the crowd in attendance with its story of being trapped by the past and redeemed by the future.

In addition, the evening served as a launching pad for the first ever Tropfest/Mobli Micro Film Festival, a brainchild of actor Tobey Maguire. In partnership with Mobli, the leading mobile photo and video sharing application, Tropfest is inviting entrants to upload and share 70-second or less ‘micro films’ on Mobli’s “Tropfest Micro Film Festival” channel, where the public can view and vote on their favorite submissions for this first-of-its-kind festival. An audience choice and editor’s choice winner will each receive a $10,000 cash prize, and be flown to Sydney for Tropfest Australia 2013 in February, where the films will be screened to an audience of 150,000 attendees.  Maguire suggested creating the Micro Film Festival after experiencing Tropfest Australia and championed its launch with Tropfest founder, John Polson.

“Our aim when we established Tropfest was to recognize promising new filmmakers and provide them with a springboard to develop their careers, and to bring premium short film content to general audiences, now around the world,” said festival founder John Polson. “Over the years, we’ve been delighted to see many success stories, as these talented individuals have gone on to forge remarkable careers in film industries around the world.”

The weekend-long event, held at the Cosmopolitan Hotel in Las Vegas, also featured amazing musical performances by L.P. and Delta Spirit and entertained guests including celebrity enthusiasts such as Abbie Cornish and Jason Gann, who came to commemorate the 20th birthday of Tropfest and share in a truly unique film festival experience.

To view the winning film, The Story of Bubble Boy, please click here.