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Playtime Acquires Australian Action Film ‘High Ground’ with Simon Baker (EXCLUSIVE)

Playtime has boarded “High Ground,” an Australian action film headlined by Simon Baker, Callan Mulvey and Jack Thompson.

Directed by Stephen Johnson, “High Ground” tells the story of Gutjuk, a young Aboriginal man orphaned in childhood who is recruited by a former soldier to track down the most dangerous outlaw in the territory — his uncle. Chris Anastassiades (“Yolgnu Boy”) wrote the script.

“High Ground” just started shooting in the world heritage-listed Kakadu Park and Arnhem Land in Australia’s rugged Northern Territory. The cast is completed by Aaron Pedersen, Caren Pistorius, Ryan Corr and newcomer Jacob Jr. Nayinggul who plays the role of Gutjuk.

Maggie Miles, Witiyana Marika and Johnson are producing the film along with David Jowsey and Greer Simpkin. Playtime has acquired international sales rights to “High Ground” and is kicking off pre-sales at the American Film Market.

“We have been following Australian directors and writers for some time now, and I must say that Stephen Johnson’s vision in ‘High Ground’ is one of the most original stories that we have come across in recent years,” said Playtime’s co-founder Sebastien Beffa, adding that the film is “a truly international project that will resonate with audiences around the world.”

Johnson said he has wanted to tell this story for a long time and has the ambition to “create an exciting action-packed (film) for a wide audience that is both entertaining and confronting.” The helmer said he collaborated with Mandawuy Yunupingu, Witiyana Marika, Jonathan Nadji, Alfred Nayinggul and many families across Arnhem Land to craft the story.

“It’s a privilege to be filming ‘High Ground’ on sacred country with traditional owners and their families in Kakadu and Arnhem Land. Our mix of stellar and breakthrough cast brings an exciting potency to this epic story,” said Miles.

The film is a High Ground Pictures production. It’s financially backed by Screen Australia with support from Maxo Studios, Screen Territory, Film Victoria, Bunya Prods. and Savage Films. “High Ground” will be distributed in Australia and New Zealand by Madman Entertainment.

Playtime’s current sales slate include the remake of “Goodnight Mommy,” the critically acclaimed Austrian psychological thriller, and Francois Ozon’s “By the Grace of God,” both of which Playtime is co-producing.

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