[Press Release by ACMI]

Visitors to Melbourne’s Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI) will have a world exclusive opportunity to step onto the set of Baz Luhrmann’s soon-to-be-released feature film Australia when Setting the Scene: Film Design from Metropolis to Australia opens in Melbourne on December 4, 2008.

Setting the Scene: Film Design from Metropolis to Australia is an astonishing behind the scenes examination of filmmaking through production design. Devoted to the work of film production designers, set designers and film architects, the exhibition pays tribute to the artists behind seminal works of film covering almost a century.

ACMI has curated an exclusive showcase of the work of Academy Award winning Australian production designer, Catherine Martin, for the exhibition. It will feature design concepts, sketches, models and research material as well as the living room set of the Faraway Downs homestead featured in the film, providing visitors with a unique opportunity to have and immersive experience by stepping ‘on set’ of Australia.

ACMI Director Tony Sweeney today said featuring Australian production designers in the exhibition, including Catherine Martin, highlights the leading role Australians have played in the film industry on the global stage.

"The exhibition opening, coinciding with the release of Australia, presents an unmissable opportunity to showcase one of Australia’s most respected and successful production design talents in Catherine Martin, alongside a selection of her prominent Australian and international colleagues,’ he said. ‘We’re thrilled to have collaborated closely with Bazmark Inq and Fox Studios to create this exclusive behind the scenes access to Australia and to explore and celebrate the role production design plays in creating the on screen magic of cinema’.

Martin is one of Australia’s most successful and awarded film designers, working in production, costume, set and scenic design. Her lavish design is a trademark of the work of long-time collaborator Baz Luhrmann’s films; Strictly Ballroom (1992), Romeo + Juliet (1996) and Moulin Rouge! (2001). For Moulin Rouge! Martin was awarded the Academy Award for Best Scenic Design of a Musical and Best Costume Design and an AFI Award for Best Achievement in Production Design. In 2003 she won the Tony Award for her Scenic Design on Luhrmann’s Broadway production of La Bohème.

Featuring more than 300 original sketches, storyboards and models behind some of the most recognisable cinematic worlds, Setting the Scene: Film Design from Metropolis to Australia explores how spaces are constructed, how production design influences the narrative, mood and atmosphere of a film.

Other films featured in the exhibition include The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1919), Mon Oncle (1958), Dr. Strangelove (1964), The Apartment (1960), A Clockwork Orange (1971), Cabaret (1972), Alien (1979), The Shining (1980), Dark City (1998), The Matrix trilogy (1999–2003),The Cat in the Hat (2003), Ned Kelly (2003), Dogville (2003), The Bourne Supremacy (2004),The Terminal (2004), The Proposition (2005),The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian (2008) and Speed Racer (2008).

Works of Australian production designers, including Chris Kennedy (The Proposition), George Liddle (Dark City), Owen Patterson (The Matrix trilogy and Speed Racer), Roger Ford (The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian), Stephen Curtis (beDevil and Night Cries: A Rural Tragedy) and Steven Jones-Evans (Ned Kelly) are also featured in the exhibition.

Setting the Scene: Film Design from Metropolis to Australia opens on Thursday 4 December 2008 until Sunday 19 April 2009. Baz Lurhman’s Australia, starring Academy Award winner Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman, opens nationally in cinemas on November 26.

For more information, please visit: www.acmi.net.au and www.australiamovie.com

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