‘The Ghan: Australia’s Greatest Train Journey’ will premiere on SBS on Sunday, January 7, 2018 at 7:30pm.
It is Australia’s first foray into Slow TV, a genre that became popular in Scandinavia in 2009 when a Norwegian broadcaster mounted one camera onto the front of a train.
‘The Ghan’ was shot from 15 camera angles across the three-day trek from Adelaide to Darwin, as Australia’s most iconic train bisects Australia from south to north.
This unique documentary has no narration or music, just the natural sounds of the Outback and the audio of the train rushing through the vast, desolate wilderness.
Crucially, though, ‘The Ghan’ explores the contributions of the transcontinental line to the foundation of modern Australia. Using contemporary graphics alongside archival imagery, audiences learn the story of the construction of the 2979 kilometre ‘Ghan line’.
The train line and subsequent development of central Australia and the growth of Darwin, Alice Springs and Port Augusta can be attributed to local Indigenous communities’ knowledge of surviving the harsh desert, as well as early immigrants, including Europeans, Chinese, and the Afghan cameleers ‘The Ghan’ is named after.
Marshall Heald, Director of TV and Online Content, said: “It’s exciting to introduce this innovative new type of programming to Australian audiences on TV, SBS On Demand and via Facebook.
“Slow TV offers an alternative to the noise, drama and disruption of other shows, and gives viewers a unique opportunity to pause, uninterrupted for three hours in prime time, as they experience first-hand a little-known story important to our multicultural national story” added Heald.
Mint Pictures also produced a real-time version for Vice, Facebook and On-Demand, running at 16 hours, 26 minutes and 52 seconds.
‘The Ghan’ was directed by Adam kay, and produced by Daniel Whelan and Dan Goldberg. Toby Ralph was DOP and audio is by Richard Boxhall.