Seven minutes of fame

STAR ROLE: Alstonville’s Nic Hamilton had a lead role in one of the 16 finalists in the Tropfest short film festival.
STAR ROLE: Alstonville’s Nic Hamilton had a lead role in one of the 16 finalists in the Tropfest short film festival. Graham Broadhead

WHO knows where seven minutes could take Alstonville's Nic Hamilton and a man with a local connection, Tim Blackburn.

Both will feature in this year's Tropfest short film finals.

Nic, a 12-year-old Year 7 student at Trinity Catholic College plays the lead role in one of the films in the final 16, while Tim is a co-director of another.

All the films in the internationally renowned festival - it's the world's largest short film festival - are limited to seven minutes, and must include a "Tropfest signature item", which this year is a balloon.

Nic only started acting a year ago with the role of Elvis Presley in Summerland Christian College's production of Undercover Superstar.

That was enough to give him the acting bug.

"I did that and decided this is what I want to do," he said.

He signed up with Gilchrist Casting in Lismore, and was invited to audition for the role in the Tropfest film Time, in which he plays a 12-year-old boy bullied for his obsession with time travel.

Nic has already had a taste of professional acting, securing a lead in one episode of Channel 10's Mako: Island of Secrets, which will air midway through the year.

For Time, Nic had to learn to SCUBA dive for a scene filmed in a dam in the Gold and Tweed coast hinterland.

Filming was done over several weeks, with 12-hour days on set.

It's hard work, but for Nic: "It's so much fun".

Tim Blackburn grew up in Brisbane, but his parents, Carolyn and Chris, moved to Empire Vale five years ago.

The film he and girlfriend Lyndal Moody created, Monobrow, was filmed over a few days while they were on a working holiday to Canada last year.

"This is the best thing that has happened in my short film career," Tim said of making the Tropfest final.

His parents will be travelling to Sydney to watch the movie with Tim and Lyndal.

All 16 Tropfest finalists will be screened on SBS on February 17 from 8.30pm. Free open-air broadcasts will be held in Sydney at the Domain and on the Gold Coast on that day.

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