High Ground

Directed by Stephen Maxwell Johnson
105 minutes
Book Tickets
Simon Baker, Jack Thompson and Jacob Junior Nayinggul shine in this tense and powerful outback western, inspired by true events, directed by Stephen Maxwell Johnson (Yolngu Boy). Selected for Berlinale 2020.
High Ground tells the story of the aftermath of a brutal massacre of an Indigenous community. Returned from World War I, ex-sniper Travis (Baker) is working as a policeman in the Northern Territory and participates in an operation that goes horribly wrong. He leaves in disgust, but twelve years later is forced back to track down Baywara, an Indigenous warrior who is attacking new settlers to the region. Travis enlists Gutjuk (Jacob Junior Nayinggul), a mission-raised Indigenous man, as his tracker and comes to realise that Gutjuk is the sole known survivor of the earlier massacre. Before long, the hunter becomes the hunted.

Shot in Kakadu National Park by Andrew Commis (Babyteeth), this beautifully crafted feature was produced by Maggie Miles (Paper Planes), David Jowsey, Greer Simpkin (Mystery Road), Witiyana Marika and Johnson. Inspired by true events, High Ground is unflinching in its depiction of the violence of colonial settlement, and through sensitive performances and direction leaves an indelible mark.

Stephen Maxwell Johnson grew up in the Bahamas, Africa and the Northern Territory of Australia. He directed a number of multi-award winning rock clips for the band Yothu Yindi, and his debut feature film was the acclaimed Yolngu Boy (2001). High Ground, which premiered at the Berlinale in 2020, has been 20 years in the making.
High Ground draws on genre conventions but also transcends them with some unusually thoughtful elements, notably its meticulous and respectful depiction of Aboriginal culture. The result is a gripping, visually spectacular revenge thriller that makes superb use of stunning landscapes while also addressing the lingering scars of colonial-era racism.
Stephen Dalton, The Hollywood Reporter


Sat 16 January
Selling Fast State Theatre
Book Tickets Cancel
Program Strand
Summer Season
English and Aboriginal Languages with English subtitles
Stephen Maxwell Johnson
David Jowsey, Maggie Miles, Witiyana Marika, Greer Simpkin, Stephen Maxwell Johnson
Simon Baker, Jacob Junior Nayinggul, Witiyana Marika, Jack Thompson
Chris Anastassiades
NSW Premiere
First Nations, Drama
Company Credits
Madman Entertainment
Clear Cart

Your cart is empty.

View over 500 sessions to find the right films and events for you!

Browse Program

Check out our list of films showing in your area

Browse Films

Donate Today
Help us bring you the best in cinema worldwide.
Booking Fee

Your planner helps you schedule your entire SFF experience. It shows sessions you've saved, purchased or added to your cart in a helpful timeline.

Sign in or register to save your planner!

Your planner is empty.

Use your planner to create your own, unique SFF experience

Browse Films & Events