About Kathryn

About Kathryn

Kathryn is a writer and award-winning filmmaker.

As writer and director, Kathryn has made ten films—documentaries, feature dramas and essay films. Screened at major festivals, they have been broadcast and streamed around the globe.

Kathryn writes on film, art and culture. Her published and produced writing encompasses screenplays, essays, criticism and audio features.

Kathryn began her career in Adelaide, working for film culture organisations, and as an independent filmmaker. From 1993 she lectured in screenwriting at Sydney’s Macquarie University and became a research-focused Professor in 2010.

Awarded Best Australian Documentary at the Antenna Documentary Festival, Shock Room dramatises Stanley Milgram’s famous obedience to authority experiments. To ask: Are we really programmed to obey?

In The Boot Cake, Kathryn is asked to bring the cake to Charlie Chaplin’s birthday party in a small desert town in India where Chaplin is revered as a saint. The Boot Cake was nominated for the Gold Hugo at Chicago International Film Festival.

Light Years—Kathryn’s film about modernist Australian photographer Olive Cotton—produced in 1991, has recently been restored.

Kathryn regularly presents talks and moderates panels for festivals and galleries. She also curates, assesses, dramaturgs and script edits. In 2022 she was director of the Rose Scott Women Writers’ Festival.

As well as numerous research awards and nominations for her film work, Kathryn has received fellowships and residencies from Varuna Writers’ House; the National Film and Sound Archive of Australia; Screen NSW; the Tyrone Guthrie Centre (Ireland) and Yale University (USA).

Kathryn holds a Doctorate in Creative Arts and an MA in History. A former member of the Australian Research Council’s College of Experts, she has led two ARC Discovery Projects. Kathryn is Emeritus Professor in Screen and Creative Arts at Macquarie University.

Kathryn is currently working on Zanuckville 5700, a book about her quest to uncover the story of Australia’s first Technicolor feature film.

She lives and works on unceded Gadigal land in Sydney’s inner west.


Double Exposure:

Double Exposure:

How Psychology Fell In Love with the Movies

“An exceptional creative and scholarly achievement”

Patricia Aufderheide


The boot cake (2008)

“An astonishing testament to the far-reaching
influence of silent cinema.”

David Robinson, Chaplin’s biographer