For Altona Meadows filmmaker Aaron Lester Ellis, a film adventure is going through a nightmare ending.

After his seven-minute film, Spill, was shortlisted for Tropfest, the iconic international short film festival was cancelled because of a funding shortfall.

After being shortlisted in the top 40, Ellis was about to find out if his film had made the top 16 final cut when the festival collapsed.

He had also been hopeful of setting a Tropfest record for the most child extras (more than 60) in a scene shot at his old school, Altona Green Primary.

“It’s tragic news because Tropfest has been around for 25 years and you see it as a solid foundation as a filmmaker,” Mr Ellis said.

“You see it as a real opportunity to get a start because they’ve kicked off so many wonderful careers in the Australian film industry.

“I just have to take it on the chin, I guess. The kids were heartbroken.”

His cousin, Lester Ellis jnr of Ja’mie: Private School Girl and Underbelly fame, is a producer on the film.

Two days after cancelling Tropfest, festival founder John Polson said he was “cautiously optimistic” of reviving the festival next year, possibly in February.

Mr Polson said he was in discussion with a number of companies that had offered financial and other support to stage the event.