Hugo Weaving as a country town police officer in a still from the film The Dressmaker

If you love movies, you’ll love Starstruck


8 August 2017

If you love movies, you'll love Starstruck

In an unprecedented partnership, the National Portrait Gallery and National Film and Sound Archive of Australia (NFSA) present a new star-studded exhibition, Starstruck: Australian Movie Portraits.

Starstruck explores the striking, beautiful portraiture emerging from 100 years of Australian movies.

While all eyes are on the moving image that emerges from the film set, still photographers create a range of both formal and candid shots, capturing both the actors at work and the characters they are playing. Drawn predominantly from the NFSA’s superb collection, the show will feature imagery of beloved Australian actors and iconic films, as well as highlighting the lesser-known early years of our film industry.

Portrait Gallery Assistant Curator, Penelope Grist, was elated with the opportunity to delve into the NFSA’s collection to discover the untold stories of Australian stills photographers, the hitherto invisible creators of some of our culture’s most influential images ¬– technicians who meet the extraordinary challenge of capturing the story, characters and spirit of a whole movie in one frame.

‘We have discovered the myriad, magical lives of these photographic moments, with material including continuity Polaroids, posters, publicity and behind-the-scenes stills from over a century of filmmaking,’ said Penelope.

‘Along the way we have made many exciting discoveries, such as a portrait of Daphne Campbell, leading lady of iconic 1946 film The Overlanders, which was actually her wedding portrait. In a real-life cinematic romance, she was married on location in the Northern Territory after falling in love with a pilot who was working on the film.’

NFSA curator Jennifer Coombes was thrilled at the collaboration between the two institutions in developing an exhibition looking at Australia’s movie history from the early 1900s through to today.

Starstruck is full of 'firsts' for the NFSA, such as this fruitful partnership with the Portrait Gallery. We’re also excited because many of the photos, which have been preserved in our vast collection of publicity shots and behind-the-scenes images, will be available to the public for the very first time,’ said Jennifer.

‘Audiences will be able to see rare film posters, stunning 1930s scrapbooks of aspiring actors, and original costumes from iconic titles such as Picnic at Hanging Rock, My Brilliant Career, and The Adventures of Priscilla Queen of the Desert. If you love movies, you'll love Starstruck!’

Starstruck will be on display at the National Portrait Gallery from 10 November 2017 until 4 March 2018. The show will then travel around the country.

A condensed version of the exhibition, titled Starstruck on Location, will also tour the country; further details will be released towards the end of 2017. This exhibition is supported by the National Collecting Institutions Touring and Outreach Program, an Australian Government program aiming to improve access to the national collections for all Australians.

Tickets now available:

For media enquiries, please contact:

Miguel Gonzalez, NFSA: (02) 8202 0114, 0404 281 632, or

Diane Morris, National Portrait Gallery: (02) 6102 7080, 0408 491 545, or


Image: Hugo Weaving as Horatio Farret. Photograph by Ben King. Film: The Dressmaker, 2015. NFSA, courtesy Film Art Media.