a documentary about fatherhood and the modern crisis of masculinity
About the film
Armadale is Perth’s most violent suburb. Children here are raised in fractured families, often navigating domestic violence, poverty, addiction and mental illness. This documentary follows a group of fathers seeking to break the cycle as they take part in Australia’s first national preventative program ‘The Fathering Project’. A unique program that supports men on their journey to be better fathers. Inspired by these men, Filmmaker Josh Lee decides to try and make peace with his own absent father.
Through the streets of Armadale, the trauma present in the community is clearly visible. An unmistakable pain only skin deep which is all too familiar to filmmaker Josh.
Like many of the young boys in Armadale Josh grew up fatherless, in a community where drugs, suicides, crime and violence were commonplace. Having seen many of his childhood friends become a part of these harrowing statistics, Josh wanted to understand why the young men from these communities are so often fated to destructive futures.
‘The Fathering Project’ established their new ‘At-Risk’ program in Armadale, in an effort to finally break the cyclical trauma and pain passed on from one generation to the next. Facilitator David Walker runs a men’s group and fortnightly BBQ’s at a local school, building community and providing mentorship for the fathers of Armadale.
Single Dad’s Traverse, Kim and Charlie and full-time dad Ron get to know each other through the fortnightly BBQ’s and start to build a friendship and support network. As their unique journeys begin to unfold, it’s evident what little help and support has been available to them until now.
Despite the difficult circumstances they each face, the participating men share a genuine desire to be better fathers. A quality seemingly not shared by Josh’s own father. As his many unanswered questions about his father continue to mount, Josh decides to take the plunge and reach out to his dad in an attempt to make peace with his absence.
This film questions what it means to be a father in today’s world and provides unique insight to the modern crisis of masculinity and fatherhood.