A scene from the film Lash, by Mullumbimby film-maker Elka Kerkhofs. The film is a finalist in Sydney and Melbourne Queer Film festivals and two overseas film festivals, which could result in an Oscar nomination.
A scene from the film Lash, by Mullumbimby film-maker Elka Kerkhofs. The film is a finalist in Sydney and Melbourne Queer Film festivals and two overseas film festivals, which could result in an Oscar nomination.

Lashings of praise for film

A LOCALLY-MADE film is winning praise around the world and could even be in the running for an Oscar.

Lash, by Mullumbimby film-maker Elka Kerkhofs, is a finalist in the Sydney and Melbourne Queer Film festivals, as well as mainstream festivals in Tampere in Finland, and Cleveland in the US.

If it should win either of the two international festivals – which are ‘Academy-registered’– Lash would win nomination to the Academy Awards, Hollywood’s most coveted prize.

Ms Kerkhofs, 38, was born in Belgium and came to Australia 13 years ago.

She has lived in Darwin and Melbourne, but a love interest drew her to Mullumbimby two years ago.

Lash was based on her experience of being brought up as a Catholic, falling in love with women, discovering Buddhism later in life and observing gay persecutions in conservative religious society, she said.

Ms Kerkhofs said she wanted to explore these themes ‘through abstract visual language whilst allowing the viewer to arrive at his or her own interpretation’.

Beach scenes for Lash were filmed at Tyagarah, underwater scenes were filmed in the Northern Territory’s Bitter Springs, and other filming took place at a studio in Melbourne.

The film utilises a mix of techniques.

It employs real actors, but puts their performance through a pixilation process, and uses other visual effects to blend the live action with hand-drawn backgrounds.

The process involved taking digital stills of live action and then cutting out each element of each frame in order to layer different textures on to faces, body parts and backgrounds to achieve a mysterious look.

The five-and-a-half minute film required four months intensive post-production work, Ms Kerkhofs said – including animation in Mullumbimby.

Lash is a finalist for the 2010 My Queer Career Awards in Sydney and the 2010 Best Australian Queer Short Film of the City of Melbourne Award competition. It is the only Australian entry in the international competition of the Tampere festival.

Ms Kerkhofs has been focusing on animation for four years and her next film will be totally hand-drawn.



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