‘Pine Gap’ Explores One Of The Most Secretive Places In Australia

29 August 2018

Pine Gap photo

Pine Gap is arguably the United States’ most important intelligence facility outside of that country. Since operations began in 1970, its mysterious inner workings have been the subject of curiosity, criticism and – as audiences are about to see – a source of inspiration for a gripping television series.

Upcoming Netflix and ABC program Pine Gap explores the famously strong alliance at the US/Australia joint defence facility. The first two episodes of the South Australian Film Corporation-supported show will premiere at Adelaide Film Festival, and tickets are available now!

Here are the reasons you’ll want to see Pine Gap before the rest of the world.

Pine Gap has been in operation since the ‘70s – but we still don’t know much about it

It’s been the subject of protests, think-pieces and conspiracy theories (some even refer to Pine Gap as ‘Australia’s Area 51’), but we still don’t know a whole lot about the facility after its almost fifty years of operation. Intelligence work always creates a catch-22: on one hand, what occurs at Pine Gap needs to be secretive to be effective; on the other, a lack of transparency means there’s no way for the public to know if they would be in support of the work in the first place.

What we do know, however, is undeniably interesting. There’s the cultural impact the facility has had on Alice Springs (the hundreds of Americans living there have brought baseball diamonds and Dr. Pepper with them); there are the golf-ball style domes of which it is illegal to take photos (a Melbourne photographer took one anyway and displayed the image in an exhibition), and then there are the leaked documents from the US National Security Agency that revealed intelligence from Pine Gap was being used on US battlefields.

The mystery surrounding the facility lends itself perfectly to a television series – and where the writers take the story is anyone’s guess.

The cast and crew

Director Mat King has worked on some of the world’s biggest shows, including Law & Order: UK and Doctor Who. And there’s plenty of recognisable work from the cast, too: Parker Sawyers played Barack Obama in 2016’s Southside with You, Tess Haubrich featured in blockbusters Alien: Covenant and The Wolverine, Jacqueline McKenzie is known for Romper Stomper and Deep Blue Sea, and Stephen Curry played the role of Dale in classic Australian film The Castle.

It was filmed in the Northern Territory and South Australia

The series was filmed on location in the Northern Territory and at Adelaide Studios in South Australia. And it’s been a long time coming: the project, which had major support from the South Australian Film Corporation and the South Australian State Government, has been four years in the making.

Without knowing what the inside of Pine Gap actually looks like, the creativity of those involved in the project – production design, set decoration and many more – is crucial to the viewer experience. We can’t wait to see what they’ve come up with.

Pine Gap will premiere at Adelaide Film Festival. Tickets are available now.