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Biography #2

Baz Luhrmann has captured popular and critical imagination internationally with a diverse range of commercially successful projects in film, opera, theatre, music and events. As the founder and director of Bazmark. Inq. and subsidiaries Bazmark Live and Bazmark Music, Luhrmann has harnessed his instinctive talent for tapping into the spirit of the times.

Prior to MOULIN ROUGE, Luhrmann's most recent feature film was the audacious WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE'S ROMEO + JULIET for Twentieth Century Fox, starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Claire Danes. Luhrmann co-wrote the screenplay, directed and co produced the international box office hit on location in Mexico. The film opened in the number one spot in the U.S., grossing over $140 million worldwide and garnered numerous awards, including four BAFTA's (including Best Direction and adapted screenplay), two Berlin Film Festival Awards (again for Best Direction, garnered a Golden Bear (Best Actor for Leonardo DiCaprio) and an Academy Award nomination for Best Art Direction for Catherine Martin. The soundtrack album went triple platinum in the U.S.

WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE'S ROMEO + JULIET followed the international success of Luhrmann's film debut, STRICTLY BALLROOM. Grossing more than $80 million at the box office, STRICTLY premiered at Cannes Film Festival where it won the Prix de Ia Jeunesse and a special mention for the Camera D'Or before going on to win numerous other international awards, including three BAFTAs and eight AFIs. (Australian Film Institute awards). The feature film STRICTLY BALLROOM evolved out of a play that Luhrmann conceived, co-wrote, staged and directed while studying to be an actor at Sydney's National Institute of Drama (NIDA). The play, which also began Luhrmann's hugely successful collaboration with writer Craig Pearce, was to have several further award-winning stage incarnations before eventually becoming a hugely successful film in 1992.

In between incarnations of STRICTLY BALLROOM, Luhrmann produced his first opera, the critically acclaimed LAKE LOST, created with composer Felix Meagher. This production marked the beginning of his collaboration with designer Catherine Martin. LAKE LOST was followed by DANCE HALL, a large scale musical event staged by Luhrmann and Martin at the Sydney Town Hall. Several more original and classic operas followed, including their highly acclaimed 1990 production of Puccini's LA BOHEME for the Australian Opera. In LA BOHEME, Luhrmann and Martin developed the ground-breaking style which is now recognized internationally as Bazmark's creative signature. LA BOHEME was awarded a MO for Operatic Performance of the Year and has been broadcast throughout the world.

Next, Luhrmann staged his interpretation of Benjamin Britten's version of A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM, set in colonial India, for the Australian Opera. After successful seasons in Sydney and Melbourne, the production went on to win the Critics' Prize at the Edinburgh Festival. Also that year, Luhrmann, Martin and old friend Bill Marron served as guest editors for a signature edition of Vogue Australia featuring Nicole Kidman and Kylie Minogue.

It was after WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE'S ROMEO + JULIET that Luhrmann set up his Sydney-based company Bazmark.Inq. and began working on his concept album SOMETHING FOR EVERYBODY. The album, featuring the inspirational Everybody's Free to Wear Sunscreen, went platinum in Australia. Under the direction of Catherine Martin, Bazmark then produced acclaimed Australian fashion designer Collette Dinnigan's 1998 Autumn/Winter Collection at the Louvre in Paris. The Bazmark Live team followed this up by conceiving and designing the streetscape for Fox Studio's (Australia) Backlot, producing as part of this, the show LIGHTS CAMERA CHAOS, written and directed by celebrated Australian theatre director Barrie Kosky. Via Bazmark.Inq. and its subsidiaries, Luhrmann has signed a groundbreaking deal with News Corp. that allows Luhrmann and his team to develop projects in any medium, including film, music and theatre.

updated 18-Aug-2002