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 The World of Film in Australia - on the Internet Updated Tuesday September 15, 2020 

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In the Australian drama charged thriller, Goldstone, neo-Western meets outback-noir, moving to the beat of the sacred land, says its director, the ever-surprising and acclaimed Ivan Sen. “The issues raised in Goldstone rarely find their way into mainstream consciousness.”

Goldstone is a frontier mining outpost, where different cultural worlds collide, in an epically beautiful desert landscape. It is a place where Indigenous, and non Indigenous people push against each other like tectonic plates. It is a clash of cultures, ideologies and spirits, and it has been happening since “outsiders” first arrived in Australia.

A drama charged thriller which moves to the beat of the sacred land it is played out on

Goldstone is a “Neo Western” crossed with “Outback Noir”. It is a drama charged thriller which moves to the beat of the sacred land it is played out on. The tightly knitted story weaves its way through a range of issues, including; Land Rights, mining, corruption, the Stolen Generations, cultural destruction, people trafficking, greed, loneliness and love.

Goldstone is a two hander, evenly weighted between the local fresh faced cop, Josh (Alex Russell) and Indigenous Detective, Jay Swan (Aaron Pedersen) who mysteriously arrives on a missing persons case. This layered storyline allows the audience to experience the world of Goldstone through two very different perspectives.

A new exploration license from the local mining company pressures Josh to drop to a deeper level of complicity in the corrupt workings between the local Mayor (Jacki Weaver) the Mine Manager, Johnny, (David Wenham), and the boss of the Aboriginal Land Council, Tommy, (Tom E. Lewis). These three characters control the fabric of Goldstone, and are symbols of the control base which is apparent in much of rural Australia.

Young Josh is at a crossroads. The Mayor and Johnny are pulling him to the side of corruption and greed at any cost. He is on the verge of fully corrupting his spirit, to becoming one of “them”. He has lost who he once was and has been been shaped by his apathetic surroundings. Jay becomes his unlikely ethical compass, encouraging Josh to hold onto the truth, and to find himself again.

Detective Jay Swan is a unique character whose very existence has profound socio- political repercussions. He is an Indigenous upholder of White Law, a law originally established by the British Crown through the forceful taking of Indigenous lands.
These are lands which had and still possess a complex web of existing Indigenous Laws, customs and life. Jay Swan is a character surrounded by cultural and inter-personal conflict. To some he is labelled a turncoat, working against his own people. To the White establishment, he is not to be trusted.

Jay Swan is aware he walks a fine line, a foot in both worlds, and yet not trusted in either. Jay possesses a deeply rooted sense of universal justice, regardless of cultural and political boundaries. This one trait is at his core. It has become his sense of purpose. It gives him the power to confront his own demons, the demons resulting from colonisation and assimilation and the effects of not belonging.

An emotional journey of cultural and spiritual awakening

In Goldstone, Jay begins a journey of belonging. It is an emotional journey of cultural and spiritual awakening. We realise Jay is not only in Goldstone to solve a cold case, but he is there to reclaim his sense of belonging.

Individual gain through positional advantage is eating at the core of Indigenous communities, perhaps like never before. Since first contact, Indigenous people have always been tempted by the trappings of the White world. Today, the stakes have never been so high, with billions of dollars in play, and cultures facing destruction from the modern world. It is a time where culture and spirit is being challenged like never before.

Where big business is involved, any resulting damage tends to be considered by Governments as “collateral damage”. The wheel must keep turning, at all costs. But where is that line in the sand? How much damage is too much, before we stop and consider the damage? And what is a life really worth, when there are billions of dollars at stake? These are the questions asked within Goldstone.

The issues raised in Goldstone rarely find their way into mainstream consciousness. The issues and people involved with them often escape the public’s attention, as they are generally separated by cultural boundaries. Goldstone attempts to dissolve these boundaries. We are all connected, and the boundaries are there because we construct them.

Josh’s challenge is whether to cross the boundaries, or to turn a blind eye. Jay’s challenge is to uncover the truth around him and within him.

People like Detective Jay Swan are invaluable to our society. It is a unique position, which can connect worlds, and show people what it is like to be on the other side of fence. They can give a greater understanding and empathy to all cultures. But there is a heavy toll. For the one who walks between boundaries, they must battle with the demons of not belonging in any of them. The challenge is to survive it.

The power of film is similar to the power of Detective Jay Swan, to bring cultures together, the world together, in a way other forms never will.

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Ivan Sen


About Ivan Sen:
Ivan Sen’s body of work marks him as a unique voice in Australian cinema. His award winning films, Beneath Clouds, Toomelah and Mystery Road each with a powerful personal vision, have been selected for the world’s most prestigious film festivals - Berlin, Toronto and Cannes. He is, above all, a director but incredibly also writes, shoots, composes and edits his films.

Goldstone in Australian cinemas from July 7, 2016


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