A grant from the Foundation is sharing the insightful documentary Zach's Ceremony with audiences across the country.
Zach’s Ceremony is a recently released Australian documentary that tells the story of Zach, a teenager grappling with two contrasting worlds – the traditions of his remote Indigenous homeland in Doomadgee, Cape York and the pressures of growing up in inner city Sydney.
Zach’s relationship with his father is pivotal to the film. As Zach’s 16th birthday approaches, his dad Alec encourages him to connect with his Aboriginal roots through the ancient rite of Initiation.
Filmed over five years, this coming of age film touches on important issues including family relationships, drug and alcohol abuse, bullying, and peer pressure. The film highlights the racism and discrimination that many young Indigenous Australians experience, as well as shining a light on alarming Indigenous suicide rates.
Knowledge of cultural identity and history has been shown to greatly improve educational outcomes for Indigenous young people, and through the telling of Zach’s story, the filmmakers hope to empower and encourage Indigenous young people to connect with their culture and traditions.
The film also allows non-Indigenous people see Aboriginal culture through Zach’s eyes, offering them the opportunity to gain an insight into his experience and to build a better understanding of the complex issues many young Indigenous people face.
The Foundation made a grant of $25,000 to Documentary Australia Foundation to take Zach’s Ceremony on a screening tour.
The Foundation’s grant has also funded the development of educational materials that will be incorporated into the programs of organisations working with Indigenous youth, such as the Australian Indigenous Mentoring Experience, and National Indigenous Youth Leadership Australia.
Zach’s Ceremony screened at the 2016 Melbourne International Film Festival and won the Audience Award for Best Documentary.