Incident at Raven's Gate

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Incident at Raven's Gate
Encounter at Raven's Gate.jpg
Directed by Rolf de Heer
Marc Rosenberg
Written by James Michael Vernon
Starring Steven Vidler
Celine Griffin
Ritchie Singer
Terry Camilleri
Max Cullen
Music by Graham Tardif
Roman Kronen
Edited by Suresh Ayyar
Distributed by Filmpac
Release date
Running time
94 minutes
Country Australia
Language English
Budget AU$2.5 million[1]

Incident at Raven's Gate (also released as Encounter at Raven's Gate) is a 1988 science fiction arthouse feature film directed by prominent Australian director Rolf de Heer.

The cast of Incident at Raven's Gate included long-term Australian stage and screen actor Max Cullen, as a policeman, and Terry Camilleri as an astrophysicist attached to Special Branch, investigating unexplained radar signals in a remote South Australian country town.


On a farming property called Raven's Gate, enthusiastic hydroponicist Richard Cleary (Ritchie Singer) is trying innovative farming practices. He is also trying to accommodate his brother Eddie (Steven Vidler), newly out of gaol and more interested in Richard's wife Rachel (Celine Griffin)[2] than in working on the property. Strange events on the property and a minor crime in the town attract policeman Taylor (Max Cullen) and Special Branch investigator Cummings (Terry Camilleri). Eddie has the misfortune to also cross local cop Skinner (Vincent Gil), by dating the target of his affections, barmaid Annie (Saturday Rosenberg). Tensions in personal relationships and mysterious events (bird kills, disappearing water supplies) build to a climax that sees Raven's Gate assaulted by an alien force, and a number of deaths amongst the protagonists.[3][4] The film closes with the stunned survivors Eddie and Rachel standing outside Raven's Gate homestead, newly restored by Special Branch, and the soundtrack playing the Easybeats song Friday on My Mind.


A genre-crossing film by Rolf de Heer, Incident at Raven's Gate was made in South Australia, with South Australian Film Corporation support, for a budget of A$2.5 million[3](although the filmmakers say only $1.1 million was spent on the actual film, the rest were fees for executive producers, writers and producers).[1] It was co-produced by de Heer and Marc Rosenberg, who together also wrote the script from a screenplay by James Michael Vernon.[3] It was filmed in South Australia's Riverland and Murraylands, and Carrington, New South Wales. The film is part thriller, part science fiction, and part psychological drama.[3]

The movie was shot on location in South Australia.[1]

Critical reception[edit]

The movie achieved only limited release and did not receive the critical acclaim of many other de Heer films.[3] It nevertheless managed three nominations at the 1988 Australian Film Institute Awards.[5] Director Rolf de Heer would later go on to win several AFI awards, including Best Film, for his 2006 release Ten Canoes.[6]

See also[edit]

Other reviews[edit]

  • Hutak, M. (1989). 'Incident at Raven's Gate', Film News, April, no. 3.
  • Stratton, D. (1988). 'Incident at Raven's Gate', Variety, August.


  1. ^ a b c David Stratton, The Avocado Plantation: Boom and Bust in the Australian Film Industry, Pan MacMillan, 1990 p283-284
  2. ^ Also known as Celine O'Leary.
  3. ^ a b c d e Hawker, Phillipa (1995). 'Incident at Raven's Gate', in Murray, Scott (ed.), Australian Film 1978–1994: A Survey of Theatrical Features. Melbourne: Oxford University Press, Australian Film Commission and Cinema Papers.
  4. ^ Twitch. Seldom Seen review: Encounter at Raven's Gate. Retrieved 9 March 2009.
  5. ^ Vertigo Productions, Incident at Raven's Gate: Information. Retrieved 9 March 2009.
  6. ^ Australian Film Institute. Past AFI Award Winners[permanent dead link]. Retrieved 9 March 2009.

External links[edit]