Tara Morice and Paul Mercurio in a dance pose in a scene from the film Strictly Ballroom. She is wearing a red and black beaded and ruffled flamenco style dress and he is wearing a spanish style gold and black bolero jacket.

NFSA celebrates 25 years of Strictly Ballroom with online exhibition


14 August 2017


The National Film and Sound Archive of Australia (NFSA) has launched Strictly Ballroom: Behind the Curtain, a new online exhibition to celebrate 25 years since the release of Baz Luhrmann’s debut film on 20 August 1992.

The NFSA has taken a look behind the red curtain to publish a selection of materials preserved in its vast Collection. This online exhibition is available permanently, worldwide, on NFSA.gov.au (https://www.nfsa.gov.au/collection/online-exhibitions) from 14 August 2017.

Paul Mercurio said: ‘Strictly Ballroom hasn't aged. It's still relevant, and it moves people in exactly the same way it did 25 years ago. We all need to feel good; we want something that makes us feel like getting up and dancing. It's been a long time but every couple of days someone mentions it to me. People are now showing it to their children for the first time!’

Tara Morice said: ‘Strictly Ballroom has been a huge part of my life; the role that defined my career. It’s a great honour that it's still loved by the audience. People have told me that every time they get sad, they get out the DVD and watch it. Kids have studied it for the HSC. It’s become part of Australian film history, and that’s such a great feeling.’

Strictly Ballroom is a timeless Australian classic; the story of a young dancer (Scott, played by Paul Mercurio), whose unconventional moves prove controversial in the conservative world of ballroom dancing, and his unlikely new partner (Fran, played by Tara Morice) as they prepare for the Pan Pacific championships.

The film won eight of its 13 nominations at the AFI Awards. It also received the Award of the Youth at the 1992 Cannes Film Festival, and three BAFTAs. Born as a stage show in 1986, Strictly Ballroom was also adapted into a successful musical in 2014.

Strictly Ballroom: Behind the Curtain includes the following:

  • A brand new interview (2017) with Paul Mercurio and Tara Morice.
  • Original sketches of the costumes by Angus Strathie.
  • 1991 behind-the scenes-interview with Catherine Martin, talking about the world of Strictly Ballroom.
  • 1992 interview on The Movie Show following the film’s premiere at the 45th Cannes Film Festival. Margaret Pomeranz talks to Baz and Paul about audience reception.
  • Oral history interviews with Paul, Tara, producer Tristram Miall, choreographer John O’Connell, composer David Hirschfelder and singer John Paul Young (on the impact of the ‘Ballroom Remix’ of Love Is in the Air).
  • Original posters, publicity materials, and more!

Interview opportunities with Paul Mercurio, Tara Morice and NFSA Senior Film Curator Gayle Lake are available. Please contact NFSA Manager National Media, Miguel Gonzalez: (02) 8202 0114, 0404 281 632, miguel.gonzalez@nfsa.gov.au.