The Top End will be on display to global audiences at next month’s prestigious Berlin International Film Festival, with local production High Ground selected to host its World Premiere at a red carpet Gala Screening.
High Ground, directed by Stephen Maxwell Johnson, was filmed in Kakadu National Park and Western Arnhem Land, and stars the legendary Jack Thompson alongside internationally-acclaimed actor, Simon Baker and newcomer, Jacob Junior Nayinggul.
The Territory Labor Government supported this project as part of our jobs-generating investment in the screen industry. High Ground attracted $2.1 million of external investment and generated $2.5 million of production expenditure.
This delivered a boost for the NT economy and supported NT jobs – our top priority. Showcasing the NT to the world will also deliver benefits for our tourism industry, another important jobs-generator.
The gripping drama is set in the 1900s at a pivotal time in the Territory’s history.
Production companies behind the film are Maxo Studios, Bunya Productions and Savage Films with the producing line-up featuring David Jowsey, Maggie Miles, Witiyana Marika, Greer Simpkin and Stephen Maxwell Johnson. Many Traditional Owners are Executive Producers on the film, including Jonathan Nadji and Alfred Nayinggul.
The Government invested $400,000 in the project as part of its record $9 million investment over four years into the screen industry.
The 70th Berlin International Film Festival runs from 20 February to 1 March 2020.
As noted by Acting Minister for Tourism, Sport and Culture, Eva Lawler:
“The Berlin International Film Festival is one of the most prestigious film festivals in the world, and to have a Territory film selected to have its World Premiere at the festival is phenomenal.
“We’re supporting the screen industry because we support jobs. Our support delivers more private investment in the Territory, more jobs for Territorians and more international attention for the Top End.
“People across the world will see the magnificence of the Territory on the big screen, and know we have the talent and capacity to cater for large-scale film productions.
“We recognise the importance in sharing our stories with the world, and its economic potential to the Territory.
“Investing in our screen industry creates local jobs and provides new pathways for artists to share their NT stories nationally and globally.”
Quote from Stephen Maxwell Johnson, Director:
“It was a wonderful experience to once again collaborate with the Yolngu and Bininj communities and their leaders, a process started many decades ago when we made the film clip ‘Treaty’ for Yothu Yindi.”
Quote from Witiyana Marika, Actor/Producer:
“I loved making High Ground and being in my first film role. I’m hoping it will make our old people proud. For me it’s dedicated to all Australian First Nations people, paying respect to those who have gone before.”