In Summary

  • Film and Television student wins inaugural Split Second film competition
  • The competition called for short films with a road safety message for young drivers
  • The winning film was shown before each screening at the Melbourne International Film Festival

Swinburne film and television student Callum Borthwick is the winner of a competition that has seen his short film featured before each screening at the Melbourne International Film Festival (MIFF).

The Transport Accident Commission (TAC) partnered with the MIFF to create the inaugural Split Second film competition, focusing on creating films with a road safety message for young drivers.

Mr Borthwick’s winning film ‘Gates of Heaven’ uniquely communicated the dangers of using a phone while driving to the target audience of young, at-risk drivers.

He says his own experience of feeling desensitised to ads that use shock tactics inspired him to use humour in the delivery of this important message.

“I decided to go down a more comedic path to reel the audience in and get them interested so I could deliver the road safety message in the second half of the ad,” Mr Borthwick says.

TAC’s Engagement Senior Manager Meg Jacobs says the competition attracted high calibre entries from across the state.

“The response from Victoria’s young creatives to the Split Second film competition was fantastic. Mr Borthwick’s film will make audiences think twice about using phones while driving and the consequences of driving while distracted,” Ms Jacobs says.

Mr Borthwick is in his third year of studying a Bachelor of Film and Television and says he has learnt a range of valuable and practical skills through the hands-on course.

“I’ve learned a lot of skills in writing and producing that have enabled me to hone my craft and to take a considered approach to responding to a brief from a client,” Mr Borthwick says.

His winning film concept and original script was brought to life in collaboration with Melbourne-based production company, Guilty, and ad agency, Taboo.

“This whole experience has been really valuable, from working with such a great team of people to bring the ad to life, to seeing my name up on the big screen. I’ve already received offers from those I worked with on the ad, as well as people who have seen it, for future opportunities.”

Watch Callum Borthwick's competition-winning short film, Gates of Heaven.