Could an Australian seagull have saved a NZ star
Could an Australian seagull have saved a New Zealand star from summer’s greatest horror?
Since 1985 New Zealanders and Australians have known they are in the firing line of one of the greatest horrors imaginable - extreme UV levels increasing risk of melanoma skin cancer.
At the same time, many Kiwi and Aussie lives were already being saved by an unlikely Australian bird - Sid the Seagull, the star of the classic Slip, Slop, Slap, sun safety advertisement that premiered in 1981.
Produced by Cancer Council Victoria, Sid’s simple message of Slip, Slop, Slap has been recognised as one of the most successful public health campaigns ever created on either side of the Tasman. Variations of the campaign with added advice are still in use a quarter of a century later, and the core message is as relevant as ever.
In fact slip, slop, slap is so ingrained in Australasian consciousness that it is not surprising that a team of New Zealand filmmakers are paying homage to Sid’s message over 25 years on.
However, the form of that homage might surprise you.
Burn Time is the sixth and final short film in the web series Ao-terror-oa, an anthology of New Zealand themed horror movies, jointly funded by Youtube and New Zealand On Air and created by H2Ow Productions.
Set in 1985, Burn Time depicts a nightmarish vision of the worst sunburn imaginable, caused by a fictional rogue solar event.
While the events in the film are fictional, the filmmakers are deadly serious about warning people young and old about the dangers of forgetting or ignoring Sid’s original simple message: Slip on a shirt, slop on some sunscreen, and slap on a hat.
Released worldwide on YouTube on the 1st of December 2017, Burn Time stars New Zealand actress Brittany Clark (Mia Halston of Channel 9’s production Doctor, Doctor, screening in New Zealand via TVNZ)
Mia is set to return to screens on both sides of the ditch in season 3 of Doctor, Doctor, but first is excited for those with a stomach for horror to see her in Burn Time, where she underwent an extraordinary and terrifying transformation thanks to the incredible SFX makeup team of New Zealand company BodyFX.
How terrifying? Well let’s just say it could turn you off your morning cup of tea... forever. To find out more you’ll have to watch for yourself.
Those brave enough to reach the end of the six minute short will be reminded of just how important and effective the original slip, slop, slap message still is today.
For those that don’t have the guts, or somehow see the film and miss the point, the filmmakers have this message:
In horror films, if you ignore the danger signs and scoff at warnings you will very possibly be the first to die amongst your friends.
It’s a sad but vitally important lesson that the exact same thing is true when it comes to sun protection and the risks of sun exposure, namely melanoma and other forms of skin cancer. The most recent data shows 1,520 deaths in Australia will likely be attributable to melanoma in 2017 and in New Zealand over 300 people die of Melanoma Skin Cancer each year.
Our two countries have among the highest rates of both melanoma skin cancer and mortality from melanoma skin cancer in the world.
Don’t be like the first victim in a horror film, heed the following SunSmart advice this and every summer:
Check your local sun protection times each day for your location – at sunsmart.org.nz in New Zealand or on the free SunSmart app in Australia. For the best level of protection when you’re outside during these times, use a combination of:
- Slip on clothing that covers as much skin as possible;
- Slop on SPF30 (or higher) broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen. Re-apply
every two hours outdoors – or immediately after sweating and swimming.
- Slap on a broad-brimmed hat that shades your face, neck and ears
- Seek shade
- Slide on sunglasses.