Hugh Macdonald’s fascinating and inspiring NZ documentary, No Ordinary Sheila, retraces writer and illustrator Sheila Natusch’s long life dedicated to sharing her understanding and love of New Zealand’s nature and history.
No Ordinary Sheila debuted at the New Zealand International Film Festival (NZIFF). Sheila was amongst the audience to see the film on the big screen, sadly she passed away just a few days later on Thursday 10 August aged 91.
Director, Hugh Macdonald comments, “I was delighted that Sheila was able to see the film at a sold-out screening in Wellington on August 8 – just two days before she died. She said that we had ‘done her proud’.”
The NZIFF team share “We’re saddened to hear that Sheila Natusch has passed away… Our hearts are warmed knowing that Sheila was able to view the film about her life, No Ordinary Sheila, with a packed auditorium in the 100 year old Paramount cinema in Wellington on Tuesday afternoon. Hugh’s lovingly-made film tells the story of her life; a radiant, defiant and unconventional life story. What a lady. Rest in peace dear Sheila.”
No Ordinary Sheila tells the inspirational life story of Sheila Natusch. Sheila was a nonagenarian natural historian, illustrator and writer. This beautiful, truly Antipodean journey, made with love by her cousin and long-time Kiwi filmmaker, Hugh Macdonald (This is New Zealand) features beautiful historic footage of the lower south in the 30s and 40s. This film offers fascinating glimpses into life as one of few female students at Otago University, and covers Sheila’s friendship with Janet Frame and their subsequent and unsuccessful foray into teaching. Viewers will love this radiant, defiant and unconventional life story which ranges from the southern wilds to the rugged Wellington coastline, where Sheila still lived until very recently, without car, TV, lipstick or alcohol, planning to “get the last bit of fun out of life that there is.”
Rialto Distribution will release No Ordinary Sheila in cinemas across the country on October 19 (Labour weekend).
Rialto Distribution, CEO Kelly Rogers comments “we are thrilled to present No Ordinary Sheila, a truly inspiring NZ story. This film is sure to captivate everyone who loved Gardening with Soul, Hip Hop-eration or Young @ Heart.”
No Ordinary Sheila opens in cinemas 19 October.