18 January 2014



One of the most extraordinary films about Australia has been released in the UK and Australia. This is Utopia, an epic production by the Emmy and Bafta winning film-maker and journalist John Pilger.

The film was released at the Curzon Soho on Friday 15 November. On Monday 18 November 2013, the Picture House Brixton beamed Utopia to 30 cinemas across the UK, together with a Q&A with John Pilger. Utopia was shown on ITV in the UK on Thursday 19 December.

Utopia had its Australian premiere in the urban heart of Indigenous Australia, in The Block in Redfern, Sydney, on 17 January 2014. The crowd filled the equivalent of two football pitches. Indigenous and non-indigenous Australians came from all over the country to hear call for a renewed struggle for justice and freedom for Australia's first people.

Utopia was broadcast nationally on SBS Australia on 31 May.

Utopia is a vast region in northern Australia and home to the oldest human presence on earth. "This film is a journey into that secret country," says Pilger in Utopia. "It will describe not only the uniqueness of the first Australians, but their trail of tears and betrayal and resistance - from one utopia to another".

Pilger begins his journey in Sydney, where he grew up, and in Canberra, the nation's capital, where the national parliament rises in an affluent suburb called Barton, recently awarded the title of Australia's most advantaged community.

Barton is named after Edmund Barton, the first prime minister of Australia, who in 1901 introduced the White Australia Policy. "The doctrine of the equality of man," said Barton, "was never intended to apply to those who weren't British and white-skinned." He made no mention of the original inhabitants who were deemed barely human, unworthy of recognition in the first suburban utopia.

One of the world's best kept secrets is revealed against a background of the greatest boom in mineral wealth. Has the 'lucky country' inherited South African apartheid? And how could this happen in the 21st century? What role has the media played? Utopia is both a personal journey and universal story of power and resistance and how modern societies can be divided between those who conform and a dystopian world of those who do not conform.

Utopia draws on people and places Pilger first filmed 28 years ago during his long association with the indigenous people of his homeland. The evidence he produces is often deeply moving and shocking.

Utopia is produced by Dartmouth Films and released in association with Network Releasing. A DVD with an extraordinary collection of interviews and sequences not included in the final cut of the film will be released by Network at the same time.

For details of screenings of Utopia in Australia and New Zealand, visit the official Utopia website.

For all distribution enquiries in Australia, contact Gil Scrine of Antidote Films on [email protected]. For community events, contact Paddy Gibson at [email protected]. For all other enquiries, please use the contact form on this website.

Film Credits

Written, produced and presented by John Pilger
Directed by John Pilger & Alan Lowery
Edited by Joe Frost
Line Producer: Sandra Leeming
Archive Producer: Alec Morgan
Associate Producers: Paddy Gibson & Chris Graham
Director of Photography: Preston Clothier
Co-Executive Producer: Tim Beddows
Executive Producer: Christopher Hird

Facebook - johnpilgerutopia
Twitter - @Utopia_Film

An updated edition of 'Breaking the Silence: The Films of John Pilger', Anthony Hayward's book about John Pilger's work, is published by Profiles International Media in October 2013 as an e-book, price £3.99. Order here.

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The John Pilger archive is held at the British Library