What a good looking guy…
This year, Tropfest finally made its way to the US. Its roots backtrack 20 years ago to a cafe in Sydney. Today, Tropfest has exploded into the world’s largest short film festival where emerging and established filmmakers alike can submit a 7 minute film to qualify. Yesterday, Hugh Jackman hosted the first Tropfest in New York, smack in the middle of Bryant Park. It was an awesome experience- some of these filmmakers spent as little as $2 for their films and most of the finalists were first time filmmakers.
Preparing for the picnic
Tropfest was sorta like a giant lawn party with a huge screen. We arrived around 3pm to get a good view and surprisingly, the lines weren’t terribly long (it did get very crowded later on). We were urged to bring our own picnic lunches but despite the planning, we underestimated how much water we’d consume in that brutal sun. That led us to venture to the street fair, which was conveniently just a block over, where vendors sold water for $1. Along the way back, we saw Kati Roll. Deathly.
Before I talk about Kati Roll, I want to share with you some of our favorites from prior Tropfests. Each Tropfest has its own TSI (Tropfest Signature Item), which changes every year. All films must find a way to incorporate the TSI, which helps ensure that a film was specifically made for Tropfest. Qualifying films must also premiere at Tropfest, so all films we saw yesterday debuted for the first time.
It was super interesting to see how different people incorporated their TSI’s. Here’s a few favorites from prior Tropfests.
So Kati Roll- this was one of my favorite places to grab a filling snack back in my college student days. There was a Kati Roll on McDougal St. that I’d frequent quite often. My favorite roll was their simple Unda Aloo roll- potatoes with a layer of egg wrapped up in a paratha/flat bread. I’ve had their chicken before and for me, while the chicken was always flavorful, it was also always dry, which made it as chewy as grass.
Unda Aloo Roll: Spicy potato roll with a layer of beaten eggs (1 for $5.50 // 2 for $10)
Unda Chicken Roll: Chicken tikka roll with a layer of beaten eggs (1 for $6 // for $11)
Unda Beef Roll: Beef tikka roll with a layer of beaten eggs (1 for $6 // two for $11)
To be honest, I was slightly disappointed with my Unda Aloo yesterday. While the paratha and flavors were perfect as expected, the potatoes got really mushy. I don’t remember them being like mashed potato consistency, but this one felt like someone took a lop of mashed potatoes without even-ing it out before rolling. It was still pretty darn good because of all of the spices and the onion/egg, but it wasn’t exactly how I envisioned it.
For the first time, I also tried the beef. The beef tasted like it came straight off of a kebab, but like the chicken, it was slightly dry. Still, the spices/flavor were spot on. I’d definitely get this over the chicken.
After some waiting and some UNO-ing, the show finally began. By the time Hugh Jackman took to the stage, the sun was starting to set. He was hilariously charming and ended the night by serenating the crowd after some prompting by the winner.
The first two films were our favorites from this year’s NYC Tropfest. The TSI was Bagel.
The video below ended up being the winner. We were a bit surprised, but it is a well done documentary.
229 East 53rd Street
(between 2nd and 3rd Avenues)
New York, NY 10022
99 MacDougal Street
(between Bleecker St. and West 3rd St.)
New York, NY 10012
Phone: 212.420.6517, 212.420.6497