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.
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.