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Phone addiction leads to film award

Enforced screen-free time ironically provided the impetus to create an award-winning silver screen movie for Katoomba’s Ethan Gelao and dad Andrew.

FOMO recently won best film and best comedy at Blue Shorts 2022.

It also collected Exceptional Merit at the Depth of Field International Film Festival 2022 in the USA, Award of Merit at the IndieFest Film Festival 2022 (USA), Honourable Mention at the Newcastle International Film Festival 2022 (AUS) and was a finalist at Short + Sweet Illawarra 2022 (AUS) and the Audacity Film Festival 2022 (AUS).

The short film looks at phone addiction in today's youth and the importance of family and how they can provide support through dark times.

It tackles some heavy moments through humour to highlight the danger of unmonitored phone usage in children.

``We live in an era with so much unfiltered and uncensored content that we all need support to escape the claws of advertisers and shoddy content creators who are happy to feed off peoples' addictions for profit,’’ Andrew said

FOMO recently screened in Fall Flix at Blue Mountains Cultural Centre, along with Soles (Mountain of Youth) and Bus Stop film’s Head over Wheels featuring Dylan Alcott. The event was made up entirely of Blue Mountains filmmakers, highlighting quality of production and diversity in ideas to be expected from the Mountains creative community.

``Ideas can come out of nowhere,’’ Andrew said. ``Ethan and I wrote this film in about 10 minutes when he was on some enforced screen-free time.

``We literally play acted the first three scenes almost exactly as they are presented in the final film.

``It was great fun making this film with my family, and it turned out way better than Ethan and I imagined.’’

Andrew has been involved in several feature films created by Blue Mountains producers such as Legend of the Five (Jo Samuels, 2020) and The Secret Kingdom (Matt Drummond, 2023), and sees many talented local young people entering the industry.

``I think it’s a golden age for film production in the Mountains.

``The technology is accessible, the locations here are spectacular and we have a great talent pool of experienced industry people in the Mountains passionate about sharing their knowledge and skills with the younger generation.

``And while I certainly don’t have the answer for the growing obsession with technology, it has definitely been worth the battle with our children to enforce some screen free time, otherwise we never would have made this film.’’

Click HERE to watch FOMO for free.

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Norman Lindsay Gallery, Faulconbridge.

Mountain biking on the Oaks track between Glenbrook and Woodford.

The old Lucasville Station platform and stairs on the Lapstone Zig Zag track.

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