Scene News: WONDERLAND down the rabbit hole at ACMI Melbourne

Photo by Mary Boukouvalas

ACMI presents the World Premiere of WONDERLAND on Thursday 5 April 2018. 

A Melbourne Winter Masterpieces exhibition beginning today. 

ACMI invites you to venture down the rabbit hole into an enchanted world, where expectations are upended and curiosity is rewarded. A world premiere as part of the Victorian Government’s Melbourne Winter Masterpieces series, ACMI’s newest creation, WONDERLAND, celebrates the screen history of Lewis Carroll’s timeless stories — Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass, and What Alice Found There — in an entirely original experiential exhibition.

Photo by Mary Boukouvalas

The enduring fascination with Carroll’s stories and characters uniquely traces the evolution of filmmaking, providing the perfect subject matter for Australia’s film museum, ACMI, to illustrate our ongoing fascination with new visual technologies over more than a century. From the earliest optical toys to silent film, animation, puppetry, live-action cinema, videogames, CGI, 3D and beyond, WONDERLAND explores how the moving image has kept Alice and her stories in the public consciousness, reinvented in contemporary contexts and mediums.

Photo by Mary Boukouvalas
Photo by Mary Boukouvalas

“This latest ACMI-created Melbourne Winter Masterpieces exhibition showcases the moving image adaptations of Carroll’s seminal works through celebrating the evolution of filmmaking, from the earliest optical toys through to new technologies,” said ACMI CEO & Director, Katrina Sedgwick. “With WONDERLAND ACMI has created an interactive exhibition where audiences explore the magic of film craft and its integral role embedding this much-loved story in our imaginations for generations.”

Commencing in Lewis Carroll’s drawing room, visitors are handed their own Lost Map of Wonderland, a physical and digital device unlocking surprising experiences during their exhibition journey and beyond. With an interactive map in hand, visitors wander the world of Wonderland, losing themselves in the Hallway of Doors, playing at the Queen’s Croquet Ground and taking part in a magical Mad Hatter’s Tea Party that comes to life before their very eyes. Along the way they will find more than 300 unique objects sourced from all around the world including first edition publications and illustrations, magic lantern projectors, concept drawings, animation cells, spectacular costumes, puppets, props and more.

Rich with inspiration for visual interpretation, Carroll’s tales have been the subject of more than 40 films and over 30 television programs. Today Alice remains an icon; omnipresent and continually relevant through her presence across music videos, video games, high fashion and advertising. WONDERLAND takes audiences on Alice’s journey through popular culture, demonstrating how artists, filmmakers and fans have returned to her story with the help of screen technologies for more than a century.

From the first screen adaptation by Cecil M Hepworth in 1903 to Disney’s Alice Through the Looking Glass (2016),

Photo by Mary Boukouvalas

WONDERLAND reveals the development of special effects from pre-cinematic entertainment to silent film, animation to puppetry, live-action cinema, videogames, CGI, 3D and beyond. Among the films featured; Norman Z McLeod’s 1933 version featuring a young Cary Grant; Lou Bunin’s Alice Au Pays des Merveilles (1949) which almost did not make it to the screen; Jan Svankmajer’s acclaimed Alice (1988); the Quay Brothers’ experimental Alice in Not So Wonderland (2007); and television versions by the BBC and NBC, and much more.

Made in Melbourne by the team at ACMI, this wholly original exhibition brings the museum’s extensive creative and curatorial expertise together with a leading team of Australian collaborators, creating an immersive experience complete with playful environments and bespoke digital activities that draw upon the wonder and curiosity of Carroll’s stories. Together with ACMI curators Jessica Bram and Sarah Tutton, exhibition and theatrical designer Anna Tregloan, digital creative studios Sandpit, Grumpy Sailor and Mosster Studio, sound designer Byron Scullin and composer Cornel Wilczek, as well as lighting designer Niklas Pajanti, have designed an interactive world to delight and surprise adults and children alike.  

A must-see this winter, the world premiere season of ACMI’s WONDERLAND exhibition will run from Thursday 5 April to Sunday 7 October 2018. Tickets and information at

Photo by Mary Boukouvalas

About ACMI (Australian Centre for the Moving Image) 

ACMI is Australia’s national museum of film, video games, digital culture and art – situated at the heart of Melbourne in Fed Square. The world’s most visited moving image or film museum, ACMI exists to celebrate, support and explore the past, present and future of the moving image through a vibrant calendar of exhibitions, screenings, installations and commissions, festivals, workshops, as well as public and education programs, in Australia and beyond. More at

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