A person has their back to the camera and is standing amidst shelves that are lined with video tapes.

Starstruck: A Behind-the-Scenes Look

Starstruck: Behind-the-Scenes of the Australian Movie Portraits Exhibition

A Starstruck exhibition documentary
 Miguel Gonzalez

Following the success of the exhibition Starstruck: Australian Movie Portraits in Canberra and Adelaide, the exhibition continues its national tour with a season at HOTA Home of the Arts on the Gold Coast from 2 March – 28 April. The exhibition was developed by the NFSA in partnership with the National Portrait Gallery.

Our short documentary about Starstruck features behind-the-scenes footage of the NFSA collection, as well as interviews with curators and some of the award-winning photographers whose work is featured in the exhibition:

Starstruck: Australian Movie Portraits – documentary, National Film and Sound Archive of Australia, 2018.

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 over 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’.

Telling a story in one picture 

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 [in the exhibition], 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.’


After successful seasons in Canberra, Adelaide, the Gold Coast, Bathurst and Geraldton between 2017 and 2019, you can now find highlights from the Starstruck: Australian Movie Portraits exhibition online.