Tropfest 2008 was all about the kids: not only did the winning film comprise a cast of child actors, but five of the 16 finalist films told stories featuring children.
Michelle Lehman's Marry Me, a film about a young girl trying to attract the attention of a mullet-haired BMX-loving boy, took out the top prize. A shocked Lehman, who is eight months pregnant with her first child, had one concern when accepting the award: "I hope I don't go into labour".
Best Female Actor went to Marry Me's young Jahla Bryant, who thanked her mum "for driving me around".
The quirk-focused Tropicana Award was given to Japan's Scab. Exuberant producer Akito Hirai described the film -- in which a young boy becomes fixated on man's giant facial scab -- as "a very simple story about something that everyone thinks about". The film was one of two international finalists and also received the Best Editing award.
This year's judges included Geoffrey Rush, Naomi Watts, Claudia Karvan, Gillian Armstrong and Lantana director Ray Lawrence.
At the close of the festivities, Tropfest founder John Polson announced the signature item for 2009: "spring".
A few hours before Tropfest proper, 16-year-old Guy Verge Wallace became the first winner of, an offshoot of the original festival dedicated to showcasing young filmmaking talent. His creation, Poor Joshua Verde, netted him $500 cash and a Sony Handycam at the inaugural event.
To see what Tropfest guests including Geoffrey Rush had to say on the night, watch our red carpet video.