• Film
  • Ithaka ★★★★★


Ithaka ★★★★★

Focusing on the family of the ‘free’ West’s most famous political prisoner, the documentary highlights the private price demanded by a public life.

John Shipton Father of Julian Assange. Photo: IMAGO / Eduard Bopp

Ben Lawrence explores of the family dynamics behind the noble fight to free the world’s most famous political prisoner, Wikileaks founder Julian Assange. Celebrating the power of individual integrity and acts of personal courage, the documentary is an inspiring indictment and a wake-up call. What is the private price demanded by a public lie? What now for the ‘freedom of the press’? What next for Assange and other whistleblowers?

Produced by Assange’s brother (Gabriel Shipton), the documentary follows the pair’s father John Shipton in his noble quest to free his son from London’s high-security Belmarsh prison, and save him from US extradition and a potential life sentence.

October 8, 2022. Protestors take part in a human chain outside London’s Parliament in support of Julian Assange and a free press, demanding the release of the imprisoned whistle-blower. Photo: IMAGO / ZUMA Wire

Watching Assange’s father John Shipton as he accepts and embodies the role of supporter and parental guardian – a role he didn’t seek (and long rejected) – is a lesson in humility and perseverance.

Shipton is a retired builder, an aloof man of few words and existential stoicism, more at ease with quoting Homeric wisdom than answering questions about his relationship with his once-estranged son. He embodies unsung heroes, people who are going more than the extra mile to uphold justice, or change, who are risking a lot for change – standing up to those in power and proving that a better and more just society is possible. ★★★★★