Australia, 2015 (MIFF 2016, Australian Showcase)

Director: Aaron Petersen


"In Sydney they call me a blackfella, in Doomadgee they call me a whitefella. I don't know who I am." – Zach Doomadgee

Teetering on the edge of manhood, Zach Doomadgee is torn between two worlds: the pulsing modernity of his Sydney home and the proud Aboriginality of his father. Unsettled by adolescence, tempted by hedonism and tormented by the inescapable racism of the city he lives in, Zach's life begins coming apart at the seams. But as his 16th birthday approaches, Zach's father sees a chance to help his son navigate these challenges by offering him the ancient Aboriginal rite of initiation.

Filmed over five years, Zach's Ceremony is the uplifting and moving coming-of-age feature documentary debut from filmmaker Aaron Petersen. Offering a keen-eyed insight into the real and ever-present clash between tradition and modernity experienced by so many Indigenous people, it's a humane, compassionate portrayal of a boy rediscovering his culture – a moment in time where the sacred knowledge of the past is giving way to an all-too uncertain future.

Gus Berger will host a Q&A with Aaron Petersen at the session on 7 August.

Rhys Graham will host a Q&A with Aaron Petersen at the session on 9 August.

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