Taboo launches short film for TAC to discourage people texting and driving

Taboo has launched a short film as part of the Melbourne International Film Festival to discourage people from texting and driving.

The announcement:

Today an innovative new short film will be launched as part of the Melbourne International Film Festival to help reduce the number of lives lost on our roads. One of the biggest causes of driver distraction is mobile phone use. Driving while using a handheld device increases the chance of crashing by up to four times.

The film, Gates of Heaven, was the winning entry in the Spilt Second Film Competition, conceived by Melbourne agency Taboo for the Transport Accident Commission (TAC). The competition challenged young filmmakers to come up with a concept to get people to stop using their phones while driving.

The winner is 20-year-old Callum Borthwick from Swinburne University, who received a $50,000 production budget and $5,000 prize money. His film will play as the pre-roll before more than 500 screenings at MIFF and the MIFF Travelling Showcase across regional Victoria.

Young drivers are notoriously difficult to reach with road safety messages, so the competition called on young people to help make the message relatable, rather than authoritarian.

As a result, Gates of Heaven offers up the road safety message as a satirical view on our addictive relationship with our digital devices.

Taboo Creative Director Nick Jamieson says working with the TAC and MIFF has been a meeting of the minds.

“This project has been a genuine collaboration. MIFF has been an incredible partner in helping bring this to life; and the finished product is a huge testament to the TAC’s willingness to push the limits and think outside the square of communication norms,” Jamieson said.

“As a bonus, Callum seamlessly integrated the festival’s official ‘Turn off your phone’ message.”

As the film is being screened during MIFF, it will open the door to conversations about distracted driving using a proven method: humour. The MIFF audience is highly engaged, socially aware and interested in getting involved in wider conversations about things that impact the community.

You can view Gates of Heaven here or before any screening during the Melbourne International Film Festival.

Client: TAC
Partnership Project Advisor: Sarah Henderson
TAC Road Safety Program Manager: Tahlee Norton
Technical & Policy Project Manager: Helen Reddan
Agency: TABOO
Creative Director: Nick Jamieson
Strategy Director: James Mackinnon
Senior Account Director: Kate Prowse
Senior Account Manager: Suzi Williamson
Designer: Dane Falkstrom
Copywriter: Claudia Sarosiek
Production Director: Melanie O’Rourke
Production Coordinator/Account Executive: Chloe Herbert
Production Company: +Ape
Director: Richard Hughes
Executive Producer: Jason Byrne
Split Second Film Competition winner and film writer: Callum Borthwick
MIFF Partnerships Manager: Jo Lawson
MIFF Artistic Director: Michelle Carey


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