"We were somewhere over the Pacific,
on the edge of forty thousand feet,
when reality began to take hold..."
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. Collaborating with veteran producer and longtime Darwen colleague Burt Kearns, the pair turned High There into a nonfiction film, premiering at the Action on Film Festival outside Los Angeles and ultimately winning the prestigious Viewers’ Choice Award at the Cannabis Film Festival in the heart of Humboldt County, California in May 2015. With underground America hailing Dave High as a new hero, the team announced at the festival that High There will be released June 23rd as a BRINKvision DVD and on Demand.
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/PRODUCER/DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY/CO-STAR
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.
Burt Kearns is a veteran television and film producer who first met Wayne Darwen 25 years ago in an A Current Affair edit bay. Managing editor and producer of that show and Hard Copy during the tabloid television heyday, Kearns turned the experience into the book Tabloid Baby, which he is still paying the price for writing. His film credits include directing and producing the nonfiction films The Chris Montez Story, Basketball Man, and the award-winning film festival favorite, The Seventh Python and, along with two-time Academy Award® winner Albert S. Ruddy, writing and producing the 20th Century Fox feature film, Cloud 9 starring Burt Reynolds. He also produced the documentaries Death of A Beatle and bin Laden's Escape, and co-produced the HBO film, Panic. His many television credits include helming Conspiracy Theory with Jesse Ventura, Guinness World Records Unleashed, The Secret History of Rock 'n' Roll with Gene Simmons, Adults Only: The Secret History of The Other Hollywood, My First Time for Showtime, and Bravo's All The Presidents' Movies.