Emerging Melbourne filmmaker Alethea Jones has won Tropfest's 20th birthday competition with her film Lemonade Stand, judged by a panel of Oscar winners including Geoffrey Rush, Nicole Kidman and Cate Blanchett.
Other judges included actresses Toni Collette and Asher Keddie, Australian directors Alex Proyas and Kieran Darcy-Smith and New York screenwriter Charles Randolph.
Tropfest founder and director, John Polson, said Jones was a deserved winner.
“Lemonade Stand is an incredibly well made film and a favourite among the judges,” he said. “There was intense discussion in the judging room and some really interesting debates. Alethea should be very proud to have been selected by some of the industry's greatest talent.”
Jones was delighted to win. “I signed up to Centrelink two weeks ago, so this changes everything for me,” she said.
Second prize went to Rupert Reid from Sydney for his film, Boo!, and third prize went to Photobooth by Michael Noonan from Queensland.
Best female actor went to Kate McNamara for her unrehearsed one-day performance in Kitchen Sink Drama. Two-time finalist Marie Patane won the Women in Film Award for her film How Many More Doctors Does it Take to Change a Lightbulb?.
APRA Tropscore winner Ben Allen was chosen from more than 900 entries for his score, Again. Tropfest 2011 runner-up Jason Van Genderen won Tropfest's mobile category, Telstra Mobile Masterpieces.