Former USQ student Alethea Jones receives her award from Cate Blanchett and Geoffrey Rush.
Former USQ student Alethea Jones receives her award from Cate Blanchett and Geoffrey Rush.

Toowoomba student wins top prize

SUCCESS tastes sweeter than freshly-squeezed lemonade for former University of Southern Queensland theatre student Alethea Jones who recently won Australia's biggest short film festival with her entry Lemonade Stand.

Lemonade Stand, a comedy about a man and his grandfather's attempts to sell lemonade, took top honours at Tropfest 2012 and impressed a judging panel that included big-name actors such as Geoffrey Rush, Nicole Kidman, Cate Blanchett, Toni Colette, Asher Keddie and John Polson.

Ms Jones, who graduated from USQ in 2000 and is now living in Melbourne, said the heavy thunderstorms that pelted the Sydney festival couldn't dampen her excitement when her film was named as the festival winner.

"I'm still in shock; I'm actually surprised by how calm I've been," Ms Jones said the morning after her big win.

"It was really humbling and exciting to have such a prestigious panel of Australian actors and actresses judging my work.

"I felt like they had so many bigger things they could be doing than watching and judging my entry but they did it for the love of film."

Ms Jones said the win would be a great boost to her goal of becoming a successful filmmaker.

"I'm currently working with some writers on five different full-length feature films," she said.

"I didn't want to put all my eggs in one basket."

Ms Jones said she remembers her time at USQ fondly.

"I had a ball doing theatre at USQ," she said.

"Learning about acting really helped me as a director; many directors are technically brilliant but don't know how to deal with actors.

"I was always an eccentric child but ballet and gymnastics didn't interest me.

"My mum took me to drama classes when I was seven years old and I've been loving it ever since.

"I work very hard but I still consider myself very lucky."



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