Regardless of your opinion on beleaguered Australian-born journalist Julian Assange, one must admit that it’s only fair to expect his biological father to be in his corner as he tries to fend off the U.S. government’s attempts to extradite him and charge him with crimes of espionage.
Whether we frame the WikiLeaks founder as a vital voice in the fight for free speech and governmental transparency, or a dangerous rogue actor who endangers lives by releasing sensitive intelligence at whim (the truth, as ever, is somewhere in the murky middle), we can be empathetic towards his friends and family who are battling to free their loved one. With that in mind, it’s understandable that filmmaker Ben Lawrence (Ghosthunter, Hearts and Bones) chose Assange’s biological father, 76-year-old John Shipton, as our point of ingress in his new film, Ithaka.
Shipton, we are told, was largely absent from Assange’s life during his formative years, having separated from Assange’s mother, Christine Hawkins, before the future controversy-magnet was born. He certainly returned in his son’s hour of need, though, the film documenting Shipton’s tireless campaign—alongside Assange’s lawyer and now wife, Stella Moris—to free Assange.