Cruising on the Gordon River in his home state of Tasmania, Jonathan Auf Der Heide was told the story of the cannibal convict Alexander Pearce. The aspiring film director was soon obsessed.
The Irishman Pearce had been sent to Van Diemen's Land in 1819 and imprisoned in the brutal penal settlement of Sarah Island in Macquarie Harbour.
He escaped three years later with seven other men and the group wandered the barren south-west of the state. But as their supplies dwindled and tensions escalated, they turned to cannibalism to survive.