WHITELEY is a visual journey into the private life and creative legacy of Australia’s most iconic artist, Brett Whiteley, told “in his own words” using personal letters, notebooks and photographs, interwoven with reconstructions, animations, archival interviews and rare footage. This award-winning feature-length documentary was directed by James Bogle and produced by Northern Pictures' Sue Clothier.

25 years after his untimely death, there has never been anyone like Brett Whiteley in the history of Australian art. A talented self-taught illustrator and painter, he was catapulted out of Sydney at 20 when he won a travelling art scholarship to Italy. So began a stellar career which saw him budding in Europe, flourishing in London, and almost disintegrating in New York.

Returning to Australia in 1969, Whiteley helped to define the young nation’s unique creative voice, as it emerged from colonial conservatism and independently entered an ambitious, cosmopolitan era. Whiteley combined the influence of Lloyd Rees (his own Australian role model) with eclectic inspirations gathered overseas, forming an illuminating personal style that propelled him into the global limelight.

Whiteley’s constant muse was his wife, Wendy. Both a catalyst for his creative passions and a witness to their incendiary consequences, she remains the sole custodian of his artistic legacy. When they met, she was an art student, almost 16, and 17-year-old Whiteley was instantly spellbound by her.

Together, the wide-eyed teen sweethearts grew into international art rockstars, with Brett’s increasingly complex and contradictory persona swinging them between triumph and disaster. Wendy was the subject of some of his most famous and popular paintings, and was the mother of their only child, Arkie.

Like so many brilliant artists, Whiteley’s ambitious ascent to dizzying heights would eventually meet with a tragic downfall. Having built a tower of artistic statements exploring monumental ideas like Love, Evil, War, Beauty and “Endlessnessism”, he irretrievably fell from it.

Whiteley’s artworks were made across just 30 years, but their ongoing impact on Australia’s creative culture is extraordinary: he blazed a trail that still lights a path forward for a new generation of artists. 

WHITELEY's co-producer Peta Ayers (L) and producer Sue Clothier (R) with the Film Critics' Circle of Australia 'Best Feature Documentary' statuette. Photo C/- the  FCCA . 

WHITELEY's co-producer Peta Ayers (L) and producer Sue Clothier (R) with the Film Critics' Circle of Australia 'Best Feature Documentary' statuette. Photo C/- the FCCA

At the Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts (AACTA) Awards, Australia's most prestigious screen honours, WHITELEY was nominated for Best Feature Documentary (Sue Clothier, Peta Ayers, James Bogle), and won Best Direction in a Documentary (James Bogle), Best Editing in a Documentary (Lawrie Silvestrin), and Best Sound Design in a Documentary (Lawrie Silvestrin, Ric Curtin & John Simpson). Ash Gibson Grieg won the AACTA for Best Original Music Score in a Documentary, and the APRA-AMCOS Screen Music Award for Best Music for a Documentary. At the Film Critics' Circle of Australia's annual awards, the nation's professional body of film critics and film journalists voted for WHITELEY as Best Feature Documentary (presented in partnership with the National Film and Sound Archive).



  • Cinema on Demand via Fan-Force - You can request a screening! 
  • See the Official Site for information about community, gallery, and on-demand screenings


Thanks to our international distributors, Journeyman Pictures, WHITELEY is now available to view outside Australia. Simply choose your favourite streaming service from the links below to rent, purchase or licence this award-winning documentary. 


DVD available from leading retailers


  • Director: James Bogle
  • Producer: Sue Clothier, Northern Pictures 
  • Co-Producer: Peta Ayers, Northern Pictures 
  • Editor: Lawrie Silvestrin
  • Writer: Victor Gentile


World premiere [sold out]: February 9, 2017 at
St George OpenAir Cinema, Sydney

Australian cinema season: from May 11, 2017

Participating cinemas included: