Damon Gameau's $80 (£50) movie Animal Beatbox, an animated film starring cellophane creatures and accompanied by a poetic narrative, was voted the best picture in the Australian short film festival.
As he accepted the award, Gameau told the ABC: "I'm quite new to stop-animation, but I find it a quick and versatile way to express any idea that may be lurking in my head.
"There isn't a narrative in it... I knew 90,000 people were going to be there and it was just a light look at the animal kingdom."
The judges at the event were Olivia Newton-John, director Stephan Elliott, Twilight star Xavier Samuel, last year's winner Abe Forsythe, producer Liz Watts and Tropfest founder John Polson.
Simeon Bain won the Trop Jr prize and the Onitsuka Tiger Award for "fearless filmmaking".