Ten years in the making, Zach’s Ceremony weaves an intricate, emotional tale that brings the viewer in to the unique world of Zach Doomadgee as he grows from adolescence into adulthood.
“Not only do you see Zach grow up on screen but you see the technology grow up on screen as well … by the time we got to country it went from these little handheld shots to these amazing 4K epic shots.”
“We found the Blackmagic Pocket Camera … a small form camera that allowed for more personal moments.”
This allowed for a candid non-intrusiveness to the shooting style, especially when it came to the initiation ceremony on Zach’s home country – an aspect of indigenous culture very rarely permitted to be filmed or even seen by cultural outsiders.
That approach leads to the film’s ultimate purpose – not just the earnest telling of Zach’s story but ultimately the breaking down of cultural barriers between white society and the First Nations people of this country.
“If I’m at the Q&A that’s the feedback I always get, they (the audience) didn’t know most of these things existed in their own backyard. And it’s something that Australia needs to embrace and talk about more”.
It can be argued that this is the true end goal of film making – cameras are just the tools used to build a film. As Rob says: “there’s no perfect camera, it’s about the right tool for the job”.
The life cycle of a film can vary immensely from inception to completion and sometimes it takes ten years to achieve your goal. Zach’s Ceremony is a true labour of love and proof that hard work and perseverance are the best tools film makers can arm themselves with.
Zach’s Ceremony has won Best Documentary and Best Film at the Byron Bay International Film Festival 2016, Most Popular Documentary at the Melbourne International Film Festival 2016, Audience Award at the Sydney Film Festival 2016, Special Jury Prize at FIFO Tahiti, Audience Award & Best Documentary at the Screenwave International Film Festival 2017 and numerous Official Selections at festivals all over the world. It was aired on SBS OnDemand as part of NAIDOC week and can be screened by schools as a cultural educational tool.