From London, the David Bowie Is exhibition opens at ACMI this month. And the Aussie-made documentary Let’s Dance: Bowie Down Under has its Australian premiere at the Melbourne International Film Festival in August.
It was David Bowie’s Let’s Dance video in 1983 that made Let’s Dance: Bowie Down Under producer Ed Gibbs sit up and take notice.
Gibbs grew up in England and describes a dreary Thursday in the early 80s watching Top of the Pops when David Bowie’s new video for Let’s Dance came on.
“My jaw dropped to the floor,” Gibbs says.
“Here was the once translucent singer, now mysteriously tanned and buff, singing to a small crowd of jolly locals in an outback pub, while delivering a bold, creative statement about integration.”
Needless to say, Gibbs interest was piqued.
Gibbs moved to Australia in the late 90s to work as a journalist. While living in Sydney he decided to track down the stars of Bowie’s Australian videos: Let’s Dance and China Girl.
Working with director Rubika Shah and executive producer David Jowsey, these conversations would become documentary Let’s Dance: Bowie Down Under.
Let’s Dance: Bowie Down Under is the remarkable story behind one of Bowie’s biggest records, and how an unlikely trip to the Australian outback led to its success.
On the documentary filmmaking process, Gibbs says he and Shah were inspired by the creative partnership behind the Nick Cave documentary 20,000 Days on Earth.
“Iain Forsyth and Jane Pollard [were] two first-time filmmakers who started with very little but were nurtured and guided, and delivered a modern masterpiece as a result,” Gibbs says.
Still have an insatiable thirst for David Bowie? You’re in luck… The Victoria and Albert Museum’s fastest-selling exhibition, David Bowie Is opens at ACMI in Melbourne on 16 July.
The exhibition explores Bowie’s influences, takes a look at his far-reaching body of work in fashion, sound, graphics, theatre, art and film, and offers a glimpse into one of the world’s greatest creative minds.
The exhibition examines Bowie’s fascination with film: Space Oddity and his first on stage persona Major Tom were greatly inspired by Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey. The exhibition examines other influential films like Metropolis. Props from films that Bowie starred in like Labyrinth are featured alongside his ground-breaking music videos. Ziggy Stardust’s jumpsuits, including one worn at another seminal Top of the Pops performance, are on display. And you can take a look at Bowie’s hand drawn storyboards, sketches, musical scores and diary entries too.