High There's world premiere screening was a rousing success last night at the Action on Film International Film Festival.

Laughter, applause, and actual gasps of shock were heard in the Krikorian Monrovia Cinema theatre as director and star Wayne Darwen delivered a brave performance as a version of himself: "Dave High," a legendary, down-and-out tabloid television producer who finds redemption -- and gets the story -- by immersing himself in the hippie pot culture of the island of Hawai'i.

Director-writer-producer Wayne Darwen on the red carpet

Director-producer-director of photography Henry Goren

Fellow director Henry Goren got many laughs as Dave's frustrated and dedicated cameraman, "Roland Jointz."

Producer Burt Kearns

Goren and producer Burt Kearns led the High There team, including associate producer Doug Bruckner and production assistant Sam Kearns at the screening.

Director-writer-producer Wayne Darwen gets an earful from Doug Bruckner

Production assistant Sam Kearns spoke about his new YouTube channel, Sammi's Secrets.

There was much animated discussion about the film, its commentary on tabloid journalism and federal marijuana laws, as well as Darwen's "gonzo" style, not seen since the work of Hunter S. Thompson. The real-life cast of Hawai'i denizens, including The "E" Girl," Tony The Healer and Alien Tom,  also received praise.

Television writer and producer Michael Lynn notices something on Darwen's back

A brief question-and-answer session took place outside the theatre while festival director Del Weston hosted other AOF filmmakers and guests in a restaurant next door.

The Producers

Darwen himself is on location in Adelaide, Australia.

He phoned in to the team before the screening and made an unexpected, if two-dimensional, appearance on the red carpet, and later outside the theatre, to welcome viewers personally.

Writer-director-producer star Wayne Darwen and SpongeBob

A pre-screening celebration was hosted at the nearby Rudy's Mexican Restaurant, an AOF sponsor, and attended by personalities including noted television producer and writer  Michael Lynn.


Director/producer Henry Goren, in the guise of character Roland Jointz, led the High There production team into Monrovia, California today, to meet the fine folks at the Action on Film International Film Festival and prepare for Monday night's premiere screening (tickets here) of High There.

New HIGH THERE trailer passes 100,000 YouTube views in less than 48 hours

YouTube censored the trailer for the movie High There, which premieres at the Action on Film International Film Festival in Monrovia, CA  on Monday at 10 pm.

But the trailer was reposted, and in less than 48 hours has logged more than 100,000 views -- and climbing!

Click the photo to see the controversial trailer and one more view!

Click here for tickets to the Monday screening!


Dr. Franklin Ruehl, Ph.D. 
Host, 'Mysteries From Beyond the Other Dominion''
Posted: 08/20/2014 

Investigator! Victim! 

These are terms that can be truly applied to veteran tabloid television producer/director/writer Wayne Darwen. I had the high honor of working with Wayne on the TV programs, Strange Universe and Extra, where he always exhibited the highest levels of professionalism.

Recently, he embarked on a project to document the recreational marijuana culture in Hawaii. Accompanying him as a cameraman was director Henry Goren.

They flew from Los Angeles to the islands, winding up in the rural town of Pahoa, an ideal site to investigate illegal drugs. Indeed, they arrived at a time when the federal DEA (Drug Enforcement Agency) was conducting raids. Because of that coincidental timing, locals initially suspected the pair of being undercover agents.

However, over time, they were able to convince the residents that they were indeed legitimate documentarians and gained entree into the local drug business. Wayne was actually shown where local cannabists grow their own illegal marijuana. And, he met a gentleman with connections to the organized marijuana trade who stressed that local authorities are loath to enforce drug laws.

But, pursuing his investigation, Wayne found himself falling in deeper and deeper with the community of junkies and hippies, participating in drug parties night after night, even one lasting 48 hours. He fell to an all-time low, becoming a victim of the very drugs he set out to expose.

However, a documentary was still produced, covering these sordid outcomes, with Wayne adopting the pseudonym "Dave High" while Henry, who filmed the interviews, assumed the moniker of "Roland Jointz." The production is appropriately entitled "High There," and will be entered in film festivals, beginning on Monday night, August 25, at a theater in Monrovia, CA.

It has been described as a Hunter S.Thompson-like escapade with some elements of dark, very dark, humor.

Ruehl Factoid: With the recent legalization of marijuana in Colorado, pot sales for the first 6 months of 2014 soared to an astounding $202 million, and are continuing to grow, with producers barely able to keep up with the demand. Tourism there is flourishing, as a consequence.

The link to a preview of "High There" is:

Follow Dr. Franklin Ruehl, Ph.D. on Twitter: 


Wayne Darwen — the tabloid TV producer who worked on “A Current Affair” and inspired Robert Downey Jr.’s character in “Natural Born Killers” — has a documentary, “High There,” about to hit the film festival circuit.
“Sex, drugs, booze, idiocy . . . horrible, degenerate stuff. That’s what people want to see,” Darwen growls in his Australian accent in the film’s trailer. “Give them what they f - - king want.”
Darwen went to Hawaii to film a marijuana travel series, “only to become lost in a fog of drugs, sex and paranoia as he uncovers a secret government war to control the marijuana trade,” imdb.com says.
When Darwen returned to the mainland and posted a short sizzle reel of footage on YouTube, the trailer garnered 1.5 million hits.
Now, he is being compared to Hunter S. Thompson. Good on you, mate!

Download the latest High There news release!

Click here!

High There premieres Monday Aug 25 

at the Action on Film Festival

2014-08-19 18:03:21 Hunter S. Thompson meets Cheech & Chong in Hawaii in this nonfiction comedy about tabloid journalism and the marijuana wars!

August 18 ( Hollywood) High There, the new documentary comedy directed by and starring tabloid television legend Wayne Darwen, makes its world premiere Monday August 25th at the Action on Film International Film Festival in Monrovia, California.

The film, co-directed by veteran cinematographer Henry Goren, documents the pair's trip to the island of Hawaii in an attempt to film a reality television series focusing on the world's marijuana meccas pilot. Instead, Darwen becomes immersed in the island's drug culture while uncovering a government plot to incarcerate local marijuana advocate Roger Christie.

The film has been two years in the making and has already made waves during the initial promotion and development process. An early preview of the film generated more than one and a half million views on YouTube. Darwen's appearance on TheLipTV.com's Buzzsaw program shattered download records.

High There, in which Darwen takes on the character of Dave High, is the latest transfornation for the celebrated television producer who began his career as a 17-year-old newspaper reporter in Sydney, Australia. Already known in media circles as the model for Robert Downey Jr.'s tabloid reporter in Oliver Stone's Natural Born Killers, Darwen's become a hero to marijuana advocates and hailed in some quarters as the successor to Hunter S. Thompson.

High There is directed by Darwen and Goren, written by Darwen, and produced by Darwen, Goren and Burt Kearns, the award-winning documentary film and television producer who immortalized Darwen as a tabloid television innovator in his book, Tabloid Baby.

The film is a Sam Peters International Productions Unlimited and Good Story Productions presentation of a Rat Lung picture.

High There is an official selection of the Action on Film International Film Festival. It will screen at 10 p.m. at the Krikorian Monrovia Cinema 12, along with the award winning short, The Low Road, Baby. More film festival screenings will be announced in the near future.

Tickets are available at http://www.aoffest.com/#!product/prd12/2609055121/high-there-and-low-road-baby--8-25-10pm


A real-life attempt to film a reality television pilot turned into the most unreal experiences of a lifetime for veteran journalist and producer Wayne Darwen and videographer Henry Goren, when they found themselves transformed into the characters Dave High and Roland Jointz in an accidental immersive investigation of the marijuana wars on the island of Hawai'i. Not quite sure what they had when they brought their high definition images back to the mainland, the pair edited a brief trailer that was posted on YouTube and quickly racked up more than 1.5 million views -- that's one point five MILLION -- while Darwen's appearance as Dave High on LipTV's Buzzsaw podcast shattered previous download records.  Now, distributors are lining up as High There heads to film festivals, already hailed as the comedic successor to the work of Hunter S.Thompson and films featuring Barry McKenzie.



Immortalized in the book Tabloid Baby as one of the innovators of the tabloid television genre, Wayne Darwen rewrote the rules of television news, developed the template for the modern entertainment news package, changed the way stories are told on television and opened the gates for the reality television revolution.  All the while, he was developing and cultivating the role of the brilliant Aussie pirate in an increasingly corporatized industry. Starting out as a 17-year-old reporter for a newspaper in Sydney, Australia, he traveled the world as a reporter for the likes of the Sydney Daily Mirror, Star magazine and the New York Post, before scorching the earth of popular culture when he made the move to television on influential shows like A Current Affair, Hard Copy, Geraldo Rivera’s Now It Can be Told and Inside Edition.  He saw his reputation reach legendary status when he inspired the character of newsman Wayne Gale in Oliver Stone’s film, Natural Born Killers, mellowed considerably during an extended stay in Nashville, and washed up in Los Angeles at the dawn of the 21st century to write and produce for network, cable, and the syndicated television series, Extra, while a new generation of television producer and executive looked upon him with awe  -- and a bit of fear.  In his most recent venture, Darwen confronted his own legacy as well as the devolution of modern journalism in the service of television entertainment when he wrote, directed, and took on the guise of Dave High in the documentary film High There.  It is the first leg of a filmic journey that picks up where his colleague and inspiration Hunter S. Thompson left off.

Director/Director of Photography/Producer

Henry Goren was born in Hollywood, California, with his future career as a photographer first taking shape when he was given the family Kodak 8mm movie camera at age eight to document a family vacation through some 35 states over 42 days. His father, an electrical engineer and writer, was amazed how well his son did the job, and an inspired young Henry continued to make small one-reel animation films. He broke into the film industry in the post production department of Schick Sunn Classic Pictures and was promoted to assistant film editor before breaking into the television news business as cameraman and director of photography for shows including Dateline, Extra, Celebrity Justice, TV's Practical Jokes & Bloopers and the NBC’s Olympic coverage. Goren was a stunt driver on Stingray, appeared onscreen as a footballer on HBO's 1st and Ten and as a police officer with a whole five lines on General Hospital. He first worked with Darwen while freelancing for Telepictures in 2002, beginning a long collaboration that culminated in High There.


"Hunter S. Thompson meets Barry McKenzie in this dark nonfiction comedy about a real-life, legendary but down-and-out tabloid television journalist who heads to Hawaii to film a marijuana travel series, only to become lost in a fog of drugs, sex and paranoia as he uncovers a secret government war to control the marijuana trade."
-- IMDb