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Production   /  Catherine Hunter


The Heide Story is about a moment in Australian art history when patronage, passion and talent came together.


Impact areas





  • DIRECTOR Catherine Hunter

  • PRODUCER Catherine Hunter & Shelley Maine



Heide Museum of Modern Art was originally the home of art patrons John and Sunday Reed. Purchased by the Reeds in 1934, the former dairy farm outside Melbourne became a mecca for young modernist artists in the 1930s and 1940s. The group included Sidney Nolan, Joy Hester and Albert Tucker. It was here that Nolan fell in love with Sunday Reed and it was at the dining room table that Nolan painted his iconic Ned Kelly series.
In November 1981, Heide Museum of Modern Art opened as a public art gallery and sculpture park and this year will celebrate its 40th anniversary with an exhibition called, Sidney Nolan: Search for Paradise. Using the framework of this exhibition, the film will explore the story of Heide. For Nolan, the paradise he found at Heide became a "season in hell". Nolan's departure from Heide was final but his legacy and that of the Reeds endures as one of the great moments in Australian art history.

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0% funded
  • $75,000.00

  • $0.00

  • October 2022

  • 0

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Issue Summary

A short summary of the issue the documentary is addressing

The story of Heide is the story of vision and patronage. And how important patronage is for young artists to explore their creative practice outside a commercial environment. It is also the story of how Heide Museum of Modern Art continues to support the contemporary art of today through its exhibition program. And in the expansive grounds of Heide, the Healing Garden offers respite to many.


What is the impact vision statement of the documentary?

Our public galleries are so important to the cultural life of this country. Increasingly galleries are finding it harder and harder to get the funding for staff and exhibition programs. Those galleries must be supported and the significant research done by their curators must be recorded. Heide is one such gallery with a wealth of cultural history that should capture the imagination of anyone who seeks to know that story.


What outcomes does the project hope to achieve from making this documentary?

This film is about educating audiences about one of our important 20th century art movements and the way the gallery has evolved to create an inter-generational dialogue between modernism and successive art movements in the 21st century.
Our vision is that the film will encourage awareness of the gallery itself as well as the opportunities (especially in a COVID-safe world) to engage with the outdoor spaces offered at Heide such as the new healing garden. This has been designed to be an accessible space for people with disabilities where all the aspects of the outdoor areas can be experienced.
A documentary is so important to ensure there is greater awareness of what Heide has to offer.


How will this documentary achieve its outcomes?

This film will be broadcast in galleries around the country and will be boosted by an ATOM study guide which will further spread the word amongst teachers and students. My hope is that The Heide Story can be screened outdoors in conjunction with the Bruce Munro exhibition (the artist who created the Field of Light installation at Uluru) which will see the gardens illuminated at night.


How will partnerships with this project help inform the project development?

Key stakeholder is the Heide Museum of Modern Art and its curatorial staff who have done so much to broaden the research. The curators have given me access to that research and to their own archive.

Audience Engagement and Social Impact

What actions does this project hope for its viewers after seeing this film?

Our goal is that visitation numbers would rise after the film has been screened and that it would encourage a wider discussion and awareness of the role of public galleries in our country. If we all became members of our local gallery it would make a significant difference to their public programs, funding and ongoing research.

Measurement and Evaluation

What is the projects indicators for success?

It is so important to keep telling our cultural stories. Heide Museum of Modern Art has evolved to become an intrinsic part not just of our history but also to engage in contemporary issues in Australian art. If visitor numbers are increased that would be a great indicator of success and even more, if memberships increased. We have to support our public galleries.