About the film

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Mission & Synopsis

A moving and intimate portrayal of one father’s fight to save his son, Ithaka exposes the brutal realities of the campaign to free Julian Assange.

The world’s most famous political prisoner, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, has become an emblem of an international arm wrestle over freedom of journalism, government corruption and unpunished war crimes.

Now with Julian facing a 175-year sentence if extradited to the US, his family members are confronting the prospect of losing Julian forever to the abyss of the US justice system.  This David-and-Goliath struggle is personal – and, with Julian’s health declining in a British maximum-security prison, the clock is ticking.

Now it’s up to Julian’s father, John Shipton, and fiancé Stella Moris, to join forces to advocate for Julian on this international odyssey. As they rally a world-wide network of supporters and politicians, they cautiously step into the media’s glare – and are forced to confront the events that made Julian a global flashpoint.

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Creative Team

Ben Lawrence

Writer and director
Ghosthunter, Hearts and Bones

Gabriel Shipton

Emu Runner, Farah

Adrian Devant


Karen Johnson

Ghosthunter, Beneath The Clouds, One Night The Moon

Niels Ladefoged

Director of Photogratphy
Free Speech Fear Free

Brian Eno

Original Score

Leeanne Torpey

Impact Producer
Big Deal, Wakefield

Marga Varea

US Tour, Impact Producer, Twin Seas Media

Louise Bennet

Associate Impact Producer

Julian’s Story:

Julian Assange is an Australian editor, publisher and activist who founded WikiLeaks in 2006. Julian came to international attention in 2010 when Wikileaks published a series of leaks provided by U.S. Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning, including leaks that showed war crimes committed with the knowledge of the US government. After the 2010 leaks, the United States government launched a criminal investigation into WikiLeaks, and are now seeking his extradition to prosecute in the US. He is currently held in H.M Belmarsh prison in London.

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Frequently Asked Questions:

Julian Assange is a journalist, publisher and the founder of Wikileaks. Wikileaks is a site created for whistleblowers to safely leak information of wrongdoing. One of the most famous leaks was released in 2010 labelled Collateral Murder. It showed US soldiers shooting at and murdering Iraqi civilians – including journalists and children. Since 2010, when Wikileaks started publishing evidence of war crimes and torture committed by US forces, there has been a sustained and concerted effort by several States to extradite him to the United States for prosecution.

The case criminalises investigative journalism in violation of both the US Constitution and international human rights law and serves to deter journalists from reporting on issues of National Security, particularly when exposing torture, murder, war crimes and other breech of International and Human Rights Laws.

The role of a free press is to hold the powerful to account and is a vital part of a democratic society. For citizens to make informed choices, they need to know what’s actually going on. Without a free press populations cannot truly make educated choices on who to govern in their names.

Over 11 years. The UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention has found that Julian Assange has been subjected to various forms of arbitrary deprivation of liberty since his arrest on 7 December 2010, including 10 days of detention in London’s Wandsworth prison; 550 days of house arrest, and the continuation of the deprivation of liberty in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London which lasted almost seven years. Since 11 April 2019, Mr. Assange has been held in near total isolation at the maximum security prison HMP Belmarsh.

Julian Assange has been charged in the Eastern District of Virginia with 17 counts under the 1917 Espionage Act, all related to WikiLeaks publications of 2010-11. He also faces a further conspiracy charge related to journalist-source communications.

No. The only people who have been charged are those who exposed these crimes.

According to The UN Special Rapporteur on Torture states that…, Julian Assange has been deliberately exposed, for a period of several years, to progressively severe forms of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, the cumulative effects of which can only be described as psychological torture.

Julian Assange is an accredited member of the press. He has won the Amnesty International, Walkley Award and Times Magazine award for his work as well as countless international accolades. He has been nominated for the Nobel peace prize on several occasions.

Great question. Ask them! Our government cannot commit crimes if we don’t let them. But without a robust free press that is empowered to hold our elected officials to account, government crime and corruption can flourish unchecked.


They need to uphold their duty to protect the Human Rights and Press Freedoms of every single Australian citizen both at home and abroad. Tell them to #PickUpThePhone and call upon our country’s relationship with the US and UK to defend Press Freedom and end the political persecution of Julian Assange.


Inform your friends, encourage them to exercise their democratic rights to advocate for causes they believe in, arrange a screening of Ithaka, ring and write to your local MPs.


Nils Melzer, is the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.He has written a book – The Trial of Julian Assange. Buy it here.