Documentary Australia

Issue area

Youth & Education

Documentary films can provide a platform for young people to share their stories and experiences or can shed light on the systemic issues that contribute to youth marginalisation and equitable access to quality education.

Historically, young people have often been marginalised and excluded from decision-making processes. This can result in them facing a variety of future challenges beyond their control including poverty, unemployment, and limited access to education and healthcare, which is often influenced by race, class, gender and geography. 

During the 18th and 19th centuries, movements for universal education emerged, advocating for the right to education for all children and leading to the establishment of public education systems in many countries. 

Contemporary youths have been impacted by the effects of globalisation, the rise of digital technologies and social media, and the ongoing struggle for social and political rights for young people around the world. The increasing use of technology in education, the growth of alternative forms of education such as home schooling and online learning, and the ongoing debate over the value of standardised testing are prevalent in social discourse. 

Ensuring equitable access to quality education requires addressing historical disparities and making efforts towards inclusive education. Issues such as lack of resources, inadequate infrastructure, and unequal distribution of educational facilities continue to hinder the educational development of young people, especially those from marginalised communities, perpetuating the cycle of poverty or opportunity inequity. 

Documentary films can provide a platform for young people to share their stories and experiences or can shed light on the systemic issues that contribute to youth marginalisation and equitable access to quality education. Documentaries can also highlight positive examples of youth experience, activism and social change, inspiring young people to be hopeful, get involved in their communities and make a difference. 

Case Study: Backtrack Boys

A group of troubled boys are on a perilous course towards jail until they meet up with the free-wheeling jackaroo, Bernie Shakeshaft, and hit the road with his legendary dog jumping team. This observational documentary follows boys in a youth program BackTrack that Bernie runs from a shed on the outskirts of Armidale, Australia.

Read the full case study here.

Completed Documentary Australia-supported Youth & Education projects:

Backtrack Boys Zach’s Ceremony The Children in the Pictures
Where to watch: DocPlay, Vimeo, Apple TV Where to watch: Foxtel, BINGE, DocPlay Where to watch: SBS
Embrace Kids Gayby Baby Tall Poppy
Where to watch: Apple TV, Google Play Where to watch: DocPlay, Fetch TV, Madman TV Where to watch: DocPlay, Apple TV, Vimeo

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Steven Pasvolsky

The Planet. The Women. The Price. The Power.

Hannah De Jorge

Three First Nations Australian teens from remote communities across NSW break barriers, win championships, and shock the world of shearing.

Anna Trichet-Laurier

Two sisters are teaching their 87 y-o Nana living with dementia how to swim, to see if she has forgotten her fears.

Hailey Bartholomew

To help our kids, we must first see ourselves

Eliza Cox

Big dreams wrestle bitter truths as three teenage girls pursue Olympic history and their freedom.

Nigel Traill

In remote Ntaria, getting teens to school is hard - with horses they found a way - until bureaucracy stepped in.

Michael Collins

Lives of students, teachers and scientists interweave on a journey of discovery and transformation through intuition.

Monica Burnell - Series Producer

STTOP combats eco-anxiety by turning “Eco-worriers” into Eco-warriors, showing how positive actions make a difference.