High Ground (2020 film)

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High Ground
High Ground 2020 film poster.png
Theatrical release poster
Directed byStephen Maxwell Johnson
Produced by
  • David Jowsey
  • Maggie Miles
  • Witiyana Marika
  • Greer Simpkin
  • Stephen Maxwell Johnson
Screenplay byChris Anastassiades
Story by
  • Chris Anastassiades
  • Stephen Maxwell Johnson
  • Witiyana Marika
CinematographyAndrew Commis
Edited by
High Ground Pictures
Distributed by Madman Films
Release date
  • 23 February 2020 (2020-02-23)(Berlin)
  • 28 January 2021 (2021-01-28)(Australia)
Running time
104 minutes

High Ground is a 2020 Australian meat pie Western film directed by Stephen Maxwell Johnson. [1] [2]


It premiered at the 70th Berlin International Film Festival on 23 February 2020 with a gala screening, and was selected for the Berlinale Special section. [3] [4] [5] [6] The film was originally slated for release in Australia on 9 July 2020; [7] this was later changed to early 2021, [8] until a further announcement on 1 October 2020 revealed the Brisbane International Film Festival would host the Australian premiere. [9] It was also shown in the Adelaide Film Festival from 17 October, with several extra sessions added to the original schedule. [10]

The film was released theatrically in Australia on 28 January 2021 by Madman Films. [2] [11]


After fighting in World War I as a sniper, Travis, now a policeman in northern Australia, loses control of an operation that results in the massacre of an Aboriginal Australian tribe in 1919. After 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 recruits mission-raised Gutjuk, the only known massacre survivor, as his tracker, the truth of the past is revealed and Travis becomes the hunted.



The film was shot on location in the Kakadu National Park and in Arnhem Land, Northern Territory, Australia. The film was a High Ground Pictures production. It was financed by Screen Australia, Maxo Studios, Screen Territory, Film Victoria, Bunya Productions and Savage Films. [12]


On Rotten Tomatoes, High Ground holds an approval rating of 87% based on 31 reviews, with an average rating of 7.00/10. [13]

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  1. Groves, Don (5 November 2018). "Simon Baker, Callan Mulvey, Jack Thompson reach 'High Ground'". IF Magazine . Retrieved 12 December 2020.
  2. 1 2 Goodsell, Luke (27 January 2021). "High Ground: Yolngu Boy director Stephen Maxwell Johnson and elder Witiyana Marika reunite for Northern Territory Western". ABC News . Retrieved 28 January 2021.
  3. Keslassy, Elsa (22 February 2020). "Berlinale Gala Player 'High Ground' With Simon Baker Sells to Samuel Goldwyn (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety . Retrieved 14 June 2020.
  4. Lodge, Guy (23 February 2020). "'High Ground': Film Review". Variety. Retrieved 14 June 2020.
  5. Bunbury, Stephanie (24 February 2020). "'People weren't ready': Australian massacre aired at Berlin festival". The Sydney Morning Herald . Retrieved 14 June 2020.
  6. Dalton, Stephen (23 February 2020). "High Ground: Film Review Berlin 2020". The Hollywood Reporter . Retrieved 14 June 2020.
  7. "Bunya's High Ground official Australian release date revealed". Bunya Productions. 11 March 2020. Archived from the original on 17 April 2020. Retrieved 14 June 2020.
  8. "HIGH GROUND will be coming to Australian cinemas early 2021". 8 July 2020. Retrieved 8 July 2020 via Facebook.
  9. "BIFF 2020 – An Unmissable Season of Cinema". Brisbane International Film Festival . Retrieved 8 August 2020.
  10. "High Ground". Adelaide Film Festival. 20 December 2020. Retrieved 28 January 2021.
  11. "High Ground – In Cinemas January 28". Madman Films . Retrieved 12 December 2020.
  12. Keslassy, Elsa (2 November 2018). "Playtime Acquires Australian Action Film 'High Ground' with Simon Baker (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. Retrieved 14 June 2020.
  13. "High Ground (2020)". Rotten Tomatoes . Retrieved 15 May 2021.