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The Entertainment Junkie

Empathy is a crucial component of Zach's Ceremony (grade: A-), Aaron Petersen's new documentary. The film follows Zach, an Aboriginal teenager in Sydney who, with the encouragement and pressure of his dad Alec, wants to have an initiation ceremony, a significant ritual of manhood in his nation's culture. Set over six years, the film charts Zach's complex relationship with his dad and his heritage, from the racial bullying he endures in school to connecting with his ancestral land in northwest Queensland, and finally the ceremony itself, which had never been captured on film before.

Next Projection – Kamran Ahmed

Peterson’s coming-of-age documentary chronicles six years in the life of Zachariah Doomadgee, an aboriginal growing up in Sydney, far away from his peoples land claim and culture. His father teaches him about his people, in an effort to maintain the culture, but Zach feels always split between the blackfella and whitefella, ostracized both by his aboriginal ancestry as well as his urban present. Peterson provides a highly intimate portrait of Zach’s struggle, from preteen ambition to teenage angst, all the while offering voice to Zach’s culture and people.

Movie Quotes & More – Douglas Gosse

Rites of passage have existed since the beginning of time, serving to affirm membership within a group, and acknowledgement of change in status. Traditional rites of passage are of particular importance among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. In Zach’s Ceremony, related themes of colonialism, marginality, sense of belonging, and perseverance, collide with the complex relationship between a father and son of Aboriginal heritage living in Sydney – Alec and Zach Doomadgee, lending this film broad universal appeal.