CAST…..Simon Baker, Jack Thompson & Aaron Pedersen star alongside newcomers Jacob Junior Nayinggul and Yothu Yindi
co-founder Witiyana Marika
JANUARY 28TH 2021
Set against the stunning landscapes of 1930s Arnhem Land, HIGH GROUND chronicles young Aboriginal man Gutjuk, who in a bid to save the last of his family teams up with ex-soldier Travis to track down Baywara—the most dangerous warrior in the Territory, who is also his uncle. As Travis and Gutjuk journey through the outback they begin to earn each other’s trust, but when the truths of Travis’ past actions are suddenly revealed, it is he who becomes the hunted.
Director/ Producer Stephen Maxwell Johnson, spoke on “HIGH GROUND” who has long-standing close ties with the Yolgnu, and Bininj Aboriginal’ communities in Arnhem Land and Kakadu National Park, and has worked extensively throughout the region says it is the tragic story of Frontier encounters and the missed opportunity between two cultures.
HIGH GROUND was conceived as a story that would challenge accepted notions of Australia’s settlement. Faced with the myth of terra nullius the aim with the film is to present a different perspective on how this country was formed. It explores themes of identity and culture and the attempts that were made to preserve and progress culture in the face of an overwhelming threat.
HIGH GROUND had a highly experienced team to undertake a complex outback production in remote Aboriginal country teaming with crocodiles. It delivers a beautiful and epic landscape at its very best. Key locations are the stone and floodplain country around the East Alligator River near Gunbalanya (Oenpelli) where we built our period sets amongst the horses, buffaloes, cattle, snakes and crocodiles, and the glorious Cannon Hill and Gunlom Falls in World Heritage listed Kakadu National Park.
With an outstanding cast of respected actors with a great performance of Simon Baker, who plays Travis a shooter teamed with legendary actor Jack Thompson as law officer Moran. Also Aaron Pedersen as Walter, and Callan Mulvey as Ambrose play lawmen.
Introducing Jacob Junior Nayinggul as his first on-screen role-plays older Gutjuk and has strong screen presence in this. Jacob lives and works as a ranger in the Gunbalanya Community in East Arnhem Land and his Uncle Alfred Nayinggul is an executive producer on HIGH GROUND’ having negotiated permissions for filming on the protected Aboriginal country.
Galarrwuy Yunupingu AM Gumatj Leader states that HIGH GROUND is a both-ways film, First Nations and Balanda. It depicts a time of trouble in Australia; it honours our old heroes, reminds us of the past and the truth of our joint history in the country.
I hope that this film can play an important role in Australia’s national conversation towards a First Nations Voice enshrined in the Constitution so that all our children will walk in both-worlds, never forgetting the past.”
This is a powerful story and one that leaves you with a big sigh’ and with this it captures some of the most breath-taking scenery of the land. It is a must-see that only serves on the big screen.