BACKTRACK BOYS

Rating: CTC
Genre: Documentary, Australia
Rating: CTC
Running Time: 80'
Director: Catherine Scott

The Backtrack Boys features the rough talking, rule breaking jackaroo, Bernie Shakeshaft, and the youth program he runs from a shed on the outskirts of Armidale called Backtrack. It’s a place where the kids can feel safe, continue their education, but most importantly it’s where they learn to support each other and pursue their dreams.
This observational documentary follows Zach, Alfie, Rusty and as they hit the road with Bernie’s legendary dog jumping team and travel to rural shows across NSW. The dog shows started out as a way to teach kids self-discipline, calm their emotions, build trust, and boost their communication skills, but now they have become the world record holders.

Universal themes will play out as these young boys strive to pull their lives together. Their personal survival and futures are at stake. This story will explore Bernie’s philosophy in action and through the journey of the boys in his care. It will look at how he helps kids navigate their relationships, deal with personal trauma, take responsibility for their own decisions and gain practical job skills so they can eventually create a sustainable life for themselves. After ten years and a crime rate that has halved, the entire community of Armidale is now behind Backtrack and they’re stepping in to lend a hand. It’s a great example of what happens when all stakeholders in the community join together to tackle these complex issues.

On the road the boys camp out around the fire and sleep under the stars but the trauma from the past is never too far away. The boys must constantly step up and push themselves and some days can be hard. Filmed over a year, this inspiring story reveals the challenges these young people face as they try to find their place in the world – all with the help of Bernie and his trusted dogs in tow.
* Cry Baby Session