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SXSW Launches in Australia with Premiere of Baz Luhrmann’s ‘Faraway Downs’

Jill Hewitt, production accountant on 'Faraway Downs' attends inaugural SXSW Sydney in support of Luhrmann project and the growing film & TV industry Down Under.
November 28, 2023

Sydney has become the first city outside Austin, Texas to host the globally renowned creative festival SXSW. And the move Down Under landed with a bang, with acclaimed Aussie Director Baz Luhrmann (‘Elvis’; ‘The Great Gatsby’; ‘Moulin Rouge’) choosing the occasion to premiere his new TV series, ‘Faraway Downs.’

Entertainment Partners Powered by Moneypenny was delighted to attend the premiere, which took place on the festival’s closing night. The event was of special importance to Jill Hewitt, EP’s Director of Training in Australia, who served as production accountant on the production.

For Jill – who mentors the next generation of production accountants, as well as supporting productions directly – SXSW Sydney is a direct response to the strength of the Australian film & TV industry.

SXSW is one of the world’s most prominent events, featuring film screenings, music performances, keynote speakers, panel discussions, workshops and trade shows. Since its launch in 1987, this annual event has evolved into a multi-day celebration and has gained a reputation as a fertile ground of originality and creativity.

Among other things, SXSW highlights independent films and TV shows and provides a platform for  creators to premiere their work. The festival attracts a diverse audience of professionals and enthusiasts from various creative industries, including film, television, music and technology, providing a hub for networking, innovation and collaboration.

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Baz Luhrmann / SXSW Sydney 2023

For Baz Luhrmann – known for his distinctive, cutting-edge and visually stunning style – this was the perfect opportunity to premiere ‘Faraway Downs,’ a re-imagined six-part series based on his 2008 film ‘Australia.’ Starring Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman, the series tackles the themes of love, time and the looming impact of World War II and paints a rich picture of life in Far North Queensland.

At a Q&A panel following the screening of 'Faraway Downs', Luhrmann said: “With over 2 million feet of film from the original piece, my team and I were able to revisit anew the central themes of the work. I’m honoured to world premiere ‘Faraway Downs’ in Australia, the place that has inspired me and my work my entire life.”

Speaking of the event, Jill Hewitt said: “It was brilliant to see such a talented Australian director premiering an Australian production at an Australian festival. The audience’s reaction to the show – and to the event itself – was electric, and I am incredibly proud that Entertainment Partners powered by Moneypenny serves such a vibrant and creative industry.”

With 400 sessions from the greatest minds in the industry and more than 700 speakers from around the world, SXSW Sydney was a resounding success for the Australian creative sector and a global recognition of Australia’s booming film & TV industry.

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