Rating: M
Length: 101 minutes
Books, Wine & The Silver Screen presents a special Q&A screening of The Family, the fascinating and bizarre story about the Melbourne-based cult that brainwashed children in preparation for the Apocalypse

Genre: Documentary
Rating: M 101'
Director: Rosie Jones

Anne Hamilton-Byrne was beautiful, charismatic and delusional. She was also incredibly dangerous. Convinced she was the reincarnation of Jesus Christ, Hamilton-Byrne headed an apocalyptic sect called The Family, which was prominent in Melbourne from the 1960s through to the 1990s. With her husband Bill, she acquired numerous children - some through adoption scams, some born to cult members - and raised them as her own. Isolated from the outside world, the children were dressed in matching outfits, had identical dyed blonde hair, and were allegedly beaten, starved and injected with LSD. Taught that Hamilton-Byrne was both their mother and the messiah, the children were eventually rescued during a police raid in 1987, but their trauma had only just begun. With survivors and cult members telling their stories alongside the Australian and international detectives who worked the case, this confronting feature documentary exposes not just what happened within the still-operating sect but also within the conservative Melbourne community that allowed The Family to flourish.

"The core material, and the interviews, are urgent, essential records of an astonishingly awful Australian story."
- ABC Radio

"Seamless and intelligent editing by Jane Usher creates a mystery story that's gripping and moving, as well as visually poetic."
* Cry Baby Session