Teacher Simon Robinson (Nick Tate) arrives at the isolated Australian fishing community of Bannings Beach to take over the small local school.
He discovers that his predecessor, Peter Flynn, has disappeared without a trace and no one seems overly worried about it. All the locals are tight-lipped about the old teacher and hostile towards the new one.
He decides to try and find out what happened.
When Simon accidentally injures a pupil called Sally Abbott (Michelle Jarman), he becomes acquainted with her elegantly beautiful mother, Jenny (Elizabeth Alexander)and her uncle, David Abbott (John Waters), who live on secluded Summerfield Island – across a small bridge and behind a padlocked gate.
Simon continues to search for clues about his predecessor’s disappearance while becoming more attracted to Jenny.
The film leads us into a maze of false clues, cryptic conversations, enigmatic silences and brooding stared, and eventually – after a shock finale – Simon discovers all the answers . . . but wishes he hadn’t.
Summerfield is a brooding, atmospheric film of high quality, and the photography and musical score are superb. Produced by Patricia Lovell and directed by Ken Hannam, it is based on a story by Cliff Green, who also wrote the screenplay.
The film was shot over seven weeks at Churchill Island in Westernport Bay, Victoia.