Art and Experience: Australian film-maker and actor Mel Gibson has joined the judging panel of beleaguered short film competition Tropfest, which will take place on 14 February in Sydney.

A month before its scheduled December 2015 date, the annual competition was cancelled due to what founder John Polson called “a terrible and irresponsible mismanagement” of funds.

However after securing a financial “lifeline” from CGU Insurance, Polson announced a new date for the event, now in its 24th year.

The Mad Max actor joins actors Simon Baker (The Mentalist), Rebecca Gibney (Packed to the Rafters, Wanted), cinematographer Don McAlpine (Moulin Rouge) and director Jocelyn Moorhouse (The Dressmaker) on the judging panel.

Gibson is currently in Australia filming his second world war epic Hacksaw Ridge starring Teresa Palmer, Luke Bracey and Sam Worthington. He said he was “thrilled” to be invited to judge the festival.

“I know what it’s like to be starting out in this industry, in Australia, and what a big difference a break can make to a career. Tropfest has been doing an incredible job over the last 23 years as a platform for young film-makers, and I’m absolutely delighted to support [it],” he said.

It is unclear if the funding arrangement with CGU Insurance will continue beyond 2016, or if the future of the festival remains in jeopardy.

Tropfest is running a crowdfunding campaign with a target of $100,000 by 19 February. At the time of writing just over $15,000 had been pledged by supporters.