In June 2021, the NFSA presented the documentary The Witch of Kings Cross (2020) to a packed house in Arc cinema. After the screening, I hosted a Q&A session with director Sonia Bible:
The Witch of Kings Cross is a genre-bending documentary set in the occult subculture of 1950s Sydney. The film explores the life, work and beliefs of the most persecuted, prosecuted and daring female artist in Australian history – Rosaleen Norton.
Sonia Bible is an internationally acclaimed documentary writer and director. While preparing another film, Sonia discovered Rosaleen’s story. Struck by what she found, and inspired by the earlier woman's passion, Sonia started researching Rosaleen in depth.
She uncovered 2 major private collections of art, scrapbooks, diaries and notebooks, and knew then that this was a story she needed to tell. Ultimately it took 7 years of research, interviews, funding applications and even digging through the NFSA collection, to bring it to the screen.
The film is the fascinating story of an incredibly talented artist, persecuted for her practice and for being a liberated woman ahead of her time. Her story was nearly lost to history, and the documentary – and the discussion with Sonia above – is absolutely worth the dive in.
You can view The Witch of Kings Cross via online platforms or on DVD; for more information visit the film's official website.