Home Movie & TV News A Raw and Uncensored Must See for Every Australian Parent and Teenager

A Raw and Uncensored Must See for Every Australian Parent and Teenager

Help Us Bring this Premiere to a Cinema 

Rites of Passage is stimulating a dialogue about what’s happening in the lives of young people today

This once in a generation film about youth today will screen in cities and towns across Australia in the months of October, November and December and will include a Q&A with the film-makers and young talent in the movie.

To give the young people involved in the making of Rites of Passage the opportunity to see their film premiere in a cinema, we need your help!  With a limited distribution budget, we need you to spread the word – invite your family and friends to purchase tickets – with all money going towards creating opportunities for the young participants involved in making the film.   The number of tickets sold will determine the locations of the film’s premieres.

A raw, uncensored film made with a message of hope and inspired by the real life experiences of the young people involved in the making of this powerful feature-length drama Rites of Passage has been directed by award-winning film-maker Phillip Crawford and is six interwoven stories showing the risk-taking, disappointment, joys and love that come with growing up.

Shot on cameras ranging from 16mm, Super 8, digital SLRs, Handycams, Infrared Black and White as well as iPhones, for the past three years community arts organisation Beyond Empathy (BE) has been working with this young extraordinary talent to make the thought-provoking film

Each of these young participants has their own real story from battling homelessness, alcohol or drug abuse, living in public housing or coming from families that have seen disadvantage and hardship.  With frankness and courage, these young people have dipped below the surface of their often tough exteriors to reveal what’s going on inside their lives in Rites of Passage.

None of these young people have acted before yet their performances are personal and profound.  Their authenticity blurs the line between fact and fiction, with the making of the film their rite of passage.

“As a youth worker for over 25 years, I have had the humbling experience to meet extraordinary people – all that have gone through hardships others would imagine impossible to cope with but somehow they have this resilience that I find inspiring.  Some of the pain in adolescence happens when you realise things aren’t going to turn out exactly as you had hoped and talking about the stuff that hurts can help” said Director, Phillip Crawford.

“One of the most significant things I realised as a youth worker involved parents – when young people go through difficulties, if they have at least one parent who hangs in there and tries to find ways to talk to them, they are more likely to have a ‘safe base’ to explore the trials of adolescence.  The stories in this film hopefully encourage the conversation between young people and their parents to talk about life and growing up.  There are never simple answers but staying in the conversation can be a lifeline”.

Rites of Passage has become a platform for the young participants – some are now working in film and media with one young man cast in the first series of Redfern Now.  For others, it has been the stepping stone to seek career advice and help for drug and alcohol addiction.


Premiere screenings are scheduled to take place in: Adelaide (November 27), Alice Springs (December 9), Bowraville (October 28), Brisbane (October 24), Canberra (November 20), Coffs Harbour (December 11), Darwin (December 7), Gold Coast (November 18), Hobart (November 6) Illawarra (October 17, November 4 and 28), Lismore (November 24), Logan (December 2), Melbourne (October 20), Perth (October 28), Port Macquarie (December 4), Sydney (October 30) and Tamworth (November 13). For more information keep an eye on:

Each screening will include a Q&A with the film-makers and some of the young people involved in the making of the film and each audience member will receive a digital link to the film


Rites of Passage is a joyous film of quiet optimism and beauty that is changing lives and opening the hearts of everyone that sees it.  In late 2012 BE conducted a highly successfully crowd-funding campaign to raise money for post-production.  A target of $25,000 was reached in just 10 days, eventually raising $30,950 over the month-long campaign. 

BE is a not-for-profit community, arts and cultural development organisation that creates art projects in Australia with people living on the margins of their communities to tell their stories and engage with new futures.  We love art and we hate disadvantage!

Rites of Passage has been made according to 10 principles:

1. The making of the film should assist people living with hardship to build new futures

2. All key actors must be amateurs and live in the community where the film is shot

3. There can be no traditional script and more than one story line

4. The story lines must be developed with the actors, drawing on their life experiences

5. If an actor fails to turn up, the shoot still goes ahead, creating a new direction for the film

6. The film must be shot in real locations in the community

7. Key actors and the production team should all operate cameras, sound, lighting and other equipment

8. Every scene should be shot with different types of cameras and in different styles

9. All the credits must be in alphabetical order, with no-one credited as writer or creator

10. The first screening must be held in the community where the film was made

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