A new Starstruck exhibition documentary


Following the success of the exhibition Starstruck: Australian Movie Portraits in Canberra (developed by the NFSA in partnership with the National Portrait Gallery), we’re excited to see this tribute to Australia’s film portraiture begin its national tour at Adelaide’s Samstag Museum of Art.

That’s why we’ve produced a new short documentary about Starstruck, featuring behind-the-scenes footage of the NFSA collection, as well as interviews with the curators and some of the award-winning photographers whose work is featured in the exhibition.

Even though Starstruck features hundreds of photos, posters, documents and even costumes preserved by the NFSA, it is only the proverbial ‘tip of the iceberg’ from a collection of 2.8 million items. Chief Curator, Gayle Lake says ‘it is the most amazing collection, growing every day. To this day I can still go in and find things I didn't know we had and go, “Ooh aah”.’

According to NFSA Curator Jennifer Coombes and National Portrait Gallery Curator Penny Grist, it took them almost two years to survey the collection because it is ‘enormous’.


We interviewed some of the photographers featured in the exhibition, who talk about classic films such as Shine, Strictly Ballroom, Lion, Two Hands and Cosi.

Mark Rogers (Lion, Samson & Delilah, Animal Kingdom) says, about the work of stills photographers on film sets: ‘[Directors] have 90 minutes and hundreds of thousands of frames to tell their story. I'm trying to tell the story of that film in one picture.’

He added: ‘To see the work of other photographers, my colleagues that I've worked alongside for 20 years, was really exciting. There might be another Starstruck in 50 years and I'll be one of the old dinosaurs whose work looks dated, but hopefully it's inspiring to the young photographer shooting stills ... if that still exists in 50 years’ time.’

Stuart Spence (Two Hands) explained that ‘the fact that the NFSA has that mandate to preserve that material is so extraordinarily important, especially the original material. It gives a sense of where you've come and where you're going. It's a real shame if we forget that.’

Lisa Tomasetti (Shine, Rabbit-Proof Fence) feels ‘incredibly chuffed’ to be a part of Starstruck, ‘to know that you're a part of that whole feast, that fabulous feast where we tell our stories.’


Starstruck: Australian Movie Portraits is open at Samstag Museum of Art in Adelaide until Friday 30 November 2018. A series of talks and screenings of NFSA Restores titles at Mercury Cinema complements the exhibition.