Alethea takes ideas to L.A.
STEALING a glance at the audience on Sunday, Alethea Jones was happy to see everyone engrossed in Lemonade Stand.
Her short film went on to win Movie Extra Tropfest 2012.
"It's a guilty pleasure as a director," Ms Jones said. "I just wanted to see if they were engaged. I always have a look around - just once."
Ms Jones, who grew up in Alstonville, had quite the audience at The Domain in Sydney including judges Nicole Kidman, Cate Blanchett, Geoffrey Rush and Toni Collette.
Lemonade Stand was picked out of 16 finalists and approximately 700 entries to take out the top prize in this year's festival.
The film, written by Tim Potter, is a comical short about Benny (played by Potter) and his granddad (John Flaus) who have been running an award-winning lemonade stand on the nature strip for years. That is until Kevin 'Fanny' Dawson (John Leary) steps in; the neighbour who thinks a job on council makes him an officer of the law and tries to shut them down.
When asked what made her film stand out, Ms Jones said everyone who worked on the film really delivered and they laughed a lot on set.
"When no one is getting paid it's important to play and laugh," Ms Jones said. "I think the film has heart because we had such a good time making it."
Ms Jones met Mr Potter through a small acting role on ABC television series Lowdown. They realised they shared a sense of humour and Mr Potter passed on his script.
"I made a lot of short films last year and I didn't want to do another short," she said. "But each page I turned I thought 'I have to do this'. It has that unexpected humour that you don't see too often."
For taking out top prize Ms Jones scores $10,000, a trip to Los Angeles to meet film industry executives and a Nikon D800 and lens prize pack.
And this time she's prepared. After winning an Inside Film Award last year she knew as a finalist in this year's Tropfest she needed a few projects to discuss.
So when she heads to LA she has five feature films and two TV series to discuss, all comedies she said.
Danae Barrett, Ms Jones's mum, who lives in Alstonvale, was ecstatic when she heard the news. "I know she has worked so hard and she's never given in," she said.