February 23, 2020

‘High Ground’ Exclusive Trailer: Berlin Premiere Digs Up Ghosts of Australia’s Untold Past

In one of the first buys out of the 2020 Berlin Film Festival, Stephen Johnson’s Australian epic “High Ground” has sold to Samuel Goldwyn Films for stateside distribution. IndieWire has the first trailer for the film, below.

Here’s the official synopsis, courtesy of the Berlinale: “After fighting in the First World War as a sniper, Travis, now a policeman in the vast empty spaces of Northern Australia, loses control of an operation that results in the massacre of an Indigenous tribe. When his superiors insist on burying the truth, Travis leaves in disgust, only to be forced back twelve years later to hunt down Baywara, an Aboriginal warrior whose attacks on new settlers are causing havoc. When Travis, now a bounty hunter, recruits as his tracker the young mission-raised Gutjuk, the only known survivor of the carnage, memories threaten to resurface and turn the white man from hunter into the hunted. Set in the 1930s, ‘High Ground’ is inspired by true events. A frontier western about colonial violence and misunderstandings that deeply resonates in today’s Australia – and indeed all over the world – the film explores the nature of loyalty and the ability to distinguish freely between right and wrong, in opposition to the dogmas of the age in which you live.”

The movie, which begins in 1919, stars Simon Baker (“The Mentalist”), Australian actor Jack Thompson, Aaron Pedersen (“Mystery Road”), and introduces Witiyana Marika, Jacob Junior Naynuggal, and Maximillian Johnson. Stephen Johnson’s last directorial credit was the series “Dead Gorgeous,” and his last feature was 2001’s “Yolngu Boy,” a similarly Aboriginal tale, which was a Telluride Film Festival premiere back in its day.

“High Ground” was shot on location in Kakadu Park and Arnhem Land in Australia’s Northern Territory. The film was produced by Maggie Miles, Witiyana Marika, Johnson, David Jowsey, and Greer Simpkin. The screenplay comes from Chris Anastassiades. He also wrote “Yolngu Boy,” but has penned episodes of “The Bureau of Magical Things,” “Jar Dwellers SOS,” “Sumo Mouse,” “H20: Just Add Water,” and more.

Watch the trailer for “High Ground” below ahead of the film’s Berlin Film Festival premiere this weekend.

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Source: IndieWire film