Hugh Jackman Tapped to Host Free Short Film Festival in NYC

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Hugh Jackman is pretty much a household name at this stage in the game. If you don't know the guy from his contributions to the "X-Men" franchise, chances are you're familiar with his other endeavors. Not only is the guy a big-time Hollywood actor, apparently he's a song-and-dance man, as well, touring the country and wowing audiences with his unstoppable talents. Hugh, as they say, is the complete package, and, deep down, we're all a little jealous about that.

In an effort to help out the little guy who is just looking to break into the business, Jackman has agreed to host this year's Tropfest, which is described as the largest short film festival known to mankind. The event, which is absolutely free and open to the general public, will take place in New York City's Bryant Park next Saturday. In addition to Jackman, such familiar faces as Rose Byrne, Judah Friedlander, and Jennifer Westfeldt will serve as judges.

"The movies are not judged on technical merit because that's one way to make film very elitist. It's not so much about that or the quality of the lens but more the strength of the idea and the concept," Jackman explained. "Previously it's people who may have been excluded or may not have the money but they have the talent and here they can show it."

Tropfest was created by actor/filmmaker John Polson ("Swimfan") over 20 years ago in Australia. As the festival grew in popularity, so did the number of people who showed up to watch these seven-minute no-budget endeavors. Nearly 150,000 attendees have shown up each year to see some of the brightest undiscovered talents strut their cinematic stuff. According to the Associated Press, the idea for the Elijah Wood FX comedy "Wilfred" came from Tropfest.

In addition to bragging rights, the winner will also receive $20,000 from The Motion Picture Association, as well as a week of meetings with industry types. So if you have a camera phone, a nifty idea, and the means to execute the premise to the best of your abilities, there's a very strong possibility that your creation could find its way into Tropfest.