Monday, February 25, 2008

Animator nominated at MQFF’s Oz Shorts

Melbourne artist/filmmaker Elka Kerkhofs’ film ‘Filled With Water’ has been short listed for the hotly contested jury-voted City of Melbourne Emerging Filmmaker Award for Best Australian Queer Short Film offering a cash prize of $2000 on the 15 of March at the 18e Melbourne Queer Film Festival 2008.

This year’s Oz Shorts judges are: Artist Colin Batrouney, General Manager Lisa Watts, Producer Michael McMahon, JOY FM Station Manager Stephen Hahn and Deputy Lord Mayor of the city of Melbourne Gary Singer.

At the same time on the other side of the world the popular lesbian animation film is one of 19 short listed finalists for the 2008 PlanetOut Short Movie Awards to win the coveted Members' Choice Award, sponsored by Scion!

Elka recently returned to Melbourne to undertake a one-year Masters course in animation at the Victorian College of the Arts Film and Television School, University of Melbourne to find that she is one of the nine finalists in the “Oz Shorts” Competition in Melbourne and one of 19 finalists for the 2008 PlanetOut Short Movie Awards in Miami, USA.

'Filled With Water' is a five-minute animation about a search for love on the other side of the television screen.

Kerkhofs says “This story is based on my personal experience of falling in love and breaking up because of the abuse of alcohol in the relationship. I believe that alcoholism is a serious problem in the lesbian and wider community. Within the lesbian community in particular it is not a commonly discussed issue. Although the film takes us on a journey to self-healing, it symbolizes the destruction of the relationship through alcoholism but through abstract visual language allows the viewer to arrive at his or her own interpretation.”

Last Year, 'Filled With Water' won the Best Production award at the My Queer Career film competition in Sydney and the Award for best Tertiary animation at The 2007 EnhanceTV ATOM Awards in Melbourne. The film has traveled to various festivals in America and Europe including New York, San Francisco, Berlin and Vienna amongst others. It now has a distributor in North America

This month the film is playing at ACMI as part of the Melbourne Queer Film Festival on the 8 and 15 of March and in Vienna on the 23 of March as part of the Tricky Women Animation Film Festival and in May at the Miami Gay and Lesbian Film Festival. The film is still gaining popularity.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Award winner at the EnhanceTV ATOM Awards

Director, Elka Kerkhofs with Producer, Donna Molan

Elka Kerkhofs won the Award for best Tertiary animation in the Atom Awards. The 2007 EnhanceTV ATOM Awards 25th anniversary presentation took place last night at The Plaza Ballroom in the Regent Theatre in Melbourne.

Each year, the program recognizes excellence in over thirty categories of Film, Television, Animation and Multimedia and celebrates the very best of Australian and New Zealand production. The 2007 EnhanceTV ATOM Awards are open to the education and industry sectors, students, production companies, independent filmmakers, educational bodies and educational producers in both countries.

Kerkhofs acknowledged that the award was “a testament to the story’s success” and thanked the Victorian College of the Arts “who were instrumental in helping me express this intimate story onto the big screen.’ Elka commended the other films in the category; ‘It makes me especially proud, that the judges picked ‘Filled With Water’ from such a selection of quality.’

Elka won the My Queer Career film competition in Sydney earlier this year. Following that, she was invited to travel the film all around the world. The film has traveled to various festivals in America including New York, and San Francisco amongst others. It now has a distributor in North America and this month the film is playing in various cinemas in Elka’s birth country, Belgium. The film has taken the Gay Film Festival Circuit by storm.

Elka says: ”Your relationship changes to your film over time. When you are creating the work it is all very personal, but after it is made, it tends to take on a life of its own. People from various parts of the world have identified with the film in their own personal way, which has been so rewarding. I’m feeling especially honoured receiving the award however on home soil”.

The best Tertiary animation Award is awarded to a most promising filmmaker demonstrating an innovative, skilled and mature command of technical elements in animation.

'Filled With Water' is a five-minute film about finding love and losing love.
The film’s producer, Donna Molan says: “It’s had a lot of success at gay and lesbian festivals, but it’s not just for queer audiences. The film is essentially about finding fulfillment within yourself and I think that this message is universal and resonates with a wide audience; gay or straight”.

Elka started working on a new animation film ‘Golden Woman’ with Darwin writer Mary Anne Butler and Producer Kate Breen for which the team received NTFO development funding to kick-start the project.

'Filled With Water' will play this month at the Euroscoop in Genk on Thursday the 25 of October at 20.15u and Sunday the 28 of October at 11u and Thursday the 1 of November at 20.15u.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Attending Annecy

Filled With Water could be viewed at the MIFA digital video library - the Festival’s Animation Market at Annecy in France. The festival vibe was quite different then NewFest in New York, it felt much more intimate then the big smoke and the people attending where too of a different kind. Mad animators instead of lots of queers! I carried my iPod with me at all times during the festival - to show people my film in the event that they couldn’t make it to the MIFA market. This proved to be a very successful marketing tool and i was able to show the film to a Quebec festival programmer, who wanted to take a copy with him! We were also encouraged to network at the professional practitioner’s party (for invited filmmakers and animation students only). Since I was offered a student accreditation for the festival, I was invited to this filmmakers’ party, which was great. Additionally, the MIFA animation market was well set up for networking with people working in the animation industry, from across the globe. It was here where I generate interest in my work via a meeting with the Flanders Animation delegation. They have now conducted an interview with me that is posted on their website. Click here to read the interview. I met so many industry people, I’m not sure how the organizers keep track of it all. But given these circumstances I believe they did a fantastic job.

I attended so many screenings and events at both these festivals that it’s hard to describe what I gained out of each session, but some of these tangible benefits will no doubt be there in the future even if they’re not all visible yet. I believe if it was not for my attendance to both NewFest and Annecy - with the support of the AFC and the NTFO - my career as a filmmaker might not have gathered so much positive successful momentum as it is taking now. It is so important for filmmakers to be nurtured and feel supported when they are making works artistically, and the AFC and the NTFO fill these supportive roles.

I would like to give a massive thanks for your support. It has given me new drive and focus for my work, and a much stronger sense of the reality of the global film and animation community.

While attending these festivals Filled With Water was HIGHLY COMMENDED in the most Innovative category, Best Australian Short Films, Dendy Awards Sydney International Film Festival, June 07

Watch Filled With Water on the big screen in San Francisco’s Frameline on the 16 and 24 of June in their FUN IN GIRL’S SHORT program, in Melbourne on the 23 of June in the AUSTRALIAN PANORAMA #1 program at MIAF and in Philadelphia on the 18 of July as part of the 13th International Philadelphia Gay & Lesbian Film Festival.