Baz Luhrmann’s Faraway Downs to premiere at SXSW Sydney

The reimagined extended version of Luhrmann’s 2008 film Australia will screen in Sydney on 21 October.

The world premiere of Baz Luhrmann’s Faraway Downs, described as an ‘inspiring epic adventure’ and reimagined extended version of Luhrmann’s 2008 film Australia, will be presented by the director in person on closing night of the inaugural SXSW Sydney Screen Festival on 21 October.

The film, told in six chapters, will premiere all at once on Hulu in the United States, Star+ in Latin America and on Disney+ in Australia and all other territories on 26 November.

‘I was inspired to re-approach my film Australia to create Faraway Downs because of the way episodic storytelling has been reinvigorated by the streaming world,’ Luhrmann said. ‘With over two-million feet of film from the original piece, my team and I were able to revisit anew the central themes of the work.

‘I am honoured to world premiere Faraway Downs in Australia, the place that has inspired me and my work my entire life, and with a partner like SXSW who deeply recognises the intersection of film, television and music with storytelling.’

Read: Luhrmann on the job: the best of Baz

Colin Daniels, SXSW Sydney Managing Director, said: We are so happy to be sharing the creative work of Baz Luhrmann and the entire Faraway Downs team at Australia’s first ever SXSW Sydney. 

Starring Nicole Kidman, Hugh Jackman, Bryan Brown, Brandon Walters, Ben Mendelsohn, David Wenham and Jack Thompson, the story centres on English aristocrat Lady Sarah Ashley (Kidman), who travels halfway across the world to confront her wayward husband and sell an unusual asset: Faraway Downs, a million-acre cattle ranch in the Australian outback.

Read: SXSW Sydney: full screen program 2023

Following the death of her husband, a ruthless Australian cattle baron, King Carney (Bryan Brown) plots to take her land, and she reluctantly joins forces with a rough-hewn cattle drover (Hugh Jackman) to protect her ranch. The sweeping adventure-romance is explored through the eyes of young Nullah (Brandon Walters), an Indigenous Australian child caught up in the government’s racial policy now referred to as the Stolen Generations. Together, the trio experiences four life-altering years, a love affair between Lady Ashley and the drover, and the unavoidable impact of World War II on Northern Australia. 

Australia was directed, produced (with Catherine Knapman and G. Mac Brown) and co-written by Baz Luhrmann, alongside writers Stuart Beattie, Ronald Harwood and Richard Flanagan, with production and costume design by multiple-Academy Award winner Catherine Martin. Faraway Downs is executive produced by Luhrmann, Martin, Knapman and Schuyler Weiss.

Paul Dalgarno is author of the novels A Country of Eternal Light (2023) and Poly (2020); the memoir And You May Find Yourself (2015); and the creative non-fiction book Prudish Nation (2023). He was formerly Deputy Editor of The Conversation and joined ScreenHub as Managing Editor in 2022. X: @pauldalgarno. Insta: @dalgarnowrites