Love was in the air at Tropfest this year, as the much-beloved short-film festival was reignited for another year on Valentines evening. Watching great, local films can only be made better by great food, great wine and great company! So, Secret Foodies teamed up with Mud House Wines to host a special VIP dinner, right there at Tropfest 2016.

The 5 lucky winners of our competition and their plus ones, were given exclusive entry to the top of a shipping container that gave birds-eye view of the screen.

As the guests arrived, they were given Bay of Fire Sparkling Cuvee Brut to enjoy as they mingled. We were joined by Travis Fuller, marketing manager for Mud House Wines who spoke about the wines then took us through a tasting of the Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Gris, paired with the shared entreés of antipasto.

As we sipped the Pinot Noir, we ate mains of braised lamb shoulder with beetroot, quinoa and feta,slow roasted chicken marylands and mediterranean vegetables, zucchini, pumpkin and spinach tart, shopska salad with local olives, rocket and heirloom tomato salad, and rye loaf and European butter.

Guests were then taken downstairs to do a tasting of a Single Vineyard Range which included Pinot Noir 2014, Sauvignon Blanc 2014 and Pinot Gris 2014. While they were downstairs, the top of the shipping container was reset with high director chairs where guests were invited to enjoy more wine and sweet treats of candies and popcorn, toffee and nut brittle during the films.

Tropfest was a huge success with the grounds packed to the rafters with people. The judging panel consisted of actors Mel Gibson, Simon Baker and Rebecca Gibney; cinematographer Don McAlpine and directors Jocelyn Moorhouse and Maya Newell. 16 films made the shortlist but there was a top three that were awarded top honours.

The winners of the night were an LA Duo, Spencer Susser and Daniel ‘Cloud’ Campos with their amazing stop-motion movie Shiny. Using life-sized clothing and a birds-eye view, this three-minutes clever but-surprisingly- violent video, shows a bunch of “people” fighting over the “shiny” diamond.

Second prize was given to Sydney filmmakers Nick Baker and Tristain Klein for their animation “Postcards to Ulay” a story about a man and his dog set in a dystopian world, sure to bring a tear to your eye. It’s a bit more of a lighter note, with the third prize winner, The ATM, a black comedy where two wannabe criminals try to figure out how to loot an ATM.

The whole night was a massive win for local film and Secret Foodies, who had a great time getting to know new people and trying some excellent food!