28th April 1996. Wendy Scurr arrives at work at the Port Arthur Historic Site in Tasmania. What transpires moments later changes her and Australia forever.
That day became one of world’s worst mass shootings in modern history leaving the deepest of scars on our national identity... and on Wendy Scurr. Wendy’s actions on that day save many lives and elevated her to hero status. Meanwhile, Australia’s gun laws are radically overhauled. The killer is sentenced, never to be released.
But with society moving on and the Coronial Inquest into the event abandoned, the victims are given no opportunity to heal. Wendy falls into a vortex of PTSD and paranoia. Vulnerable, she is embraced by those who are willing to listen to her story - extremist groups who pedal conspiracy theories. Her unanswered questions and distress are fuel to the growing fire of lies and confusion about the massacre. Wendy becomes the face of Australia’s ‘Port Arthur conspiracy’ and lives out her final years in self-imposed exile.
In 2015, filmmaker Jared Nicholson discovers Wendy’s story and convinces her to share her story with him. By now, it’s 20 years after the massacre but Wendy is living a life of paranoia. Jared immerses himself within Wendy’s life and social circle. As he delves deeper into this murky world, he finds himself suspending logic and questions what’s real and what’s not. This subplot twists and turns, offering a microcosm of the insidious and seductive allure of the conspiracy mindset.
Wendy dies suddenly in December 2018, and Jared is left examining his beliefs and the roller-coaster relationship over the past few years with Wendy. He struggles with his mental health and ongoing anxiety - ripple effects of the paranoia.
This documentary is not an exploitative look at the massacre or promotion of the conspiracy theories, but an exploration of a survivor of a traumatic event who was taken in by people who validated her but ultimately used her for their own agenda.