Released in 2013 Rites of Passage is a raw, uncensored and honest film inspired by the life experiences of the young people who were involved in the making of the feature-length drama as cast and crew under the direction of an internationally renowned filmmaker. The film, based in the Illawarra, involves six interwoven stories which show the teenagers negotiating the dangers and discoveries of their age with the result; a self-portrait of disadvantaged, marginalised children responding to the challenges surrounding them (and from some of the poorest urban postcodes in Australia). Rites of Passage involved an independent evaluation and demonstrated a three-fold social return on investment.
It was the winner of the Special Jury prize at the 2013 Warsaw Film Festival; selected to screen at international film festivals in Sao Paolo, Warsaw, Colorado, Seattle, Cyprus and Canada. Other critical aclaim included:
Evan Williams, film critic of The Australian, describes it as among the most remarkable and moving films produced in Australia in recent years.
Parenting author and educator Steve Biddulph says “Just a few minutes into the film, you start to care intensely about these kids, and the tension of how they will survive and get through becomes unbearable. Somehow, through the freshness of the filmmaking, you see their inner worlds lit up and the trials of being young and fragile under the tough masks the world makes them wear.”
An independent Social Return On Investment (SROI) conducted by Netbalance returned a $3.10 of social value for every dollar invested in the Rites of Passage project.
Many of the participants have gone on to film careers and are participating in BE’s leadership / mentoring program.