The documentary films made by Catherine Hunter are characterised by a respect for and love of the process of making art and a belief that art and artists are not somehow apart from the world. On the contrary, artists are deeply and crucially engaged in shaping our sense of place, identity and of what it is to be human.

Catherine Hunter has worked in the arts as a writer, producer and director for over thirty years. After two decades of documenting the full range of the arts with the Nine network's acclaimed "Sunday" program, she left to work as a freelance documentary maker in collaboration with a small group of like-minded professionals. Her passions are for the arts and architecture. Film projects have included architect Glenn Murcutt and painters, John Russell, Sidney Nolan, Margaret Olley, Wendy Sharpe, Jenny Sages, Roger Law (the co-creator of the UK's Spitting Image), Anselm Kiefer, William Robinson, Jeffrey Smart and photographers Trent Parke and Jeff Carter. Almost all films have been broadcast nationally on ABC1.

ATOM study guides for selected films are available as teacher resources at


For all DVD orders please click here


ABC1 on October 30, 9.30pm 2018

Trailer Australia's Lost Impressionist: John Russell from Catherine Hunter on Vimeo.


Australia’s Lost Impressionist – John Russell will screen on ABC TV, Tuesday, October 30 at 9.30pm and tells the fascinating story behind the only Australian artist at the centre of the Impressionist movement in France and how his famous friendships forever changed the way the world sees colour. 

John Russell (1858-1930) painted in France alongside Claude Monet, he mentored Henri Matisse and was a close friend of Vincent van Gogh. Russell exhibited at the1905 Salon d’Automne in Paris and his work entered the Louvre collection in 1949. Russell’s portrait of Van Gogh was purchased by the Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam in 1938 and is documented as Van Gogh’s favourite. 

In 2017, director Catherine Hunter and cameraman Bruce Inglis travelled to Belle-Ile, the charming windswept island off Brittany where Russell lived for 20 years. This island is virtually unchanged since the 1800s. The beguiling coastline of Belle-Ile was a continual source of inspiration for Russell and his contemporaries. 

This insightful documentary explores Russell’s intriguing life through the eyes of a new generation of Australian painters as they discover Russell for themselves. Highly respected contemporary artists Luke Sciberras and Euan Macleod travelled with Catherine Hunter to Belle-Ile and their impressions and inspired work feature in the film. 

Russell was handsome, wealthy, debonair and being Australian, quite exotic in 19th Century France. Yet despite his own artistic accomplishments and his pivotal role in the development of modern art, his name and his art have been largely unrecognised outside rarefied art circles. Australia’s Lost Impressionist – John Russell explores Russell’s enormous legacy on 20th century art through his paintings and his friendships. 

Actor Hugo Weaving features as the voice of John Russell who was a prolific letter writer especially to fellow artists Vincent van Gogh, Auguste Rodin and Tom Roberts. The intimate correspondence between Russell and his fellow artists is captivating and at times heart-breaking.

Below / Review / 31st October, 2018 / Wentworth Courier, Sydney 




Glenn Murcutt - Spirit of Place Trailer from Catherine Hunter on Vimeo.




Photograph / Glenn Murcutt on mosque roof © Jesse Marlow, Fairfax Syndication

" A beguiling and beautifully balanced biographical film..." Graeme Blundell, The Australian

Premiering on the ABC, Glenn Murcutt – Spirit of Place explores the life and work of Australia’s most famous living architect. Murcutt’s extraordinary international reputation rests on the beauty and integrity of his buildings. With a swag of international awards (including the prestigious Pritzker Prize) Murcutt has literally put Australian architecture on the world map. Murcutt’s focus has been the creation of energy-efficient masterpieces perfectly suited to their environment and his breakthrough designs have influenced architects around the world.

Yet he’s an enigma.

By choice, he has never built outside his own country. Murcutt believes one must understand a place intimately before good design is possible. He has no staff, no computer and no email. He insists good design comes from the hand, not the computer.

In the words of the Pritzker jury: “In an age obsessed with celebrity, the glitz of our ‘starchitects’, backed by large staffs and copious public relations support, dominates the headlines. As a total contrast, Murcutt works in a one-person office on the other side of the world ... yet has a waiting list of clients, so intent is he to give each project his personal best. He is an innovative architectural technician who is capable of turning his sensitivity to the environment and to locality into forthright, totally honest, non-showy works of art.”

Murcutt has long eschewed publicity and has preferred to let his work speak for itself. But over the past few years he has allowed documentary filmmaker Catherine Hunter to follow him as he embarked on his most challenging project to date – a mosque for the Newport Islamic community in Melbourne.



Marie Short House / Kempsey © Bruce Inglis


Send an email

Sidney Nolan film-Catherine Hunter

Jeff carter film-Catherine Hunter   Margaret Olley film-Catherine Hunter  
    Jenny sages film-Catherine Hunter William Robinson film-Catherine Hunter   Jffrey Smart film-Catherine Hunter  
   Wendy Sharpe film-Catherine Hunter Trent Parke film-Catherine Hunter  

Roger Law film-Catherine Hunter

    ©2018 Catherine Hunter Productions