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Facing Down Under

Chris has just graduated from high school in Germany. The plan now: Off to Australia. Like many others before him, he embarks on his journey to discover the Red Continent in all its facets. The documentary convinces with outstanding visuals of landscapes, wildlife, and people that come across Chris and his camera. He experiences the unique atmosphere of the backpacking community, as well as the downsides of the popular Work And Travel system. The result is an incredibly honest travel report that is executed with fresh ideas and compelling down to the last frame.

Director:  Chris Hartung

Translator: Silas Quiering

Genre: Drama, Travel, Documentary


Chris Hartung, a native of Bielefeld, Germany, will embark on his first backpacking trip for a Work & Travel year in Australia on September 4, 2019. With a friend from his school, he begins the year abroad in Sydney, where he spends the first weeks in hostels, then moves into a large shared apartment and finds work locally. It soon turns out that Chris and his friend have different plans for their time in Australia, which is why they decide to separate. 

From this point on, Chris decides to dedicate himself to his real goal: exploring the Australian continent. He buys an SUV with a built-in bed and begins his journey to the west of Australia, which starts with working as a farmhand in the town of Mildura. The film is mainly about the following part of the journey and Hartung's encounters, experiences and his thoughts on the trip.

The climax of the film takes place when Chris is beaten up on New Year's night. Despite these circumstances and financial hardship, Chris decides to continue his journey. The film ends with the onset, of the worldwide Corona pandemic, which forces Chris to end his journey and return to Germany by closing domestic borders.