Review - Hope Road

Review by Rod Freedman

Hope Road Dir: Tom Zubycki | Australia

Tom Zubrycki is one of Australia’s most consistent and prolific documentary filmmakers. Shooting over five years, Tom follows the quest of South Sudanese refugee and Sydney resident Zacharia to build a much-needed mudbrick school back in his remote home village. After an initial visit and a hero’s welcome, a new outbreak of fighting prevents him returning to Southern Sudan, but he won’t give up his dream.

He's enthusiastically supported by a small band of Aussies, including Janet, a TAFE teacher who accompanies him on an ambitious fund-raising walk from Brisbane to Sydney. The power of a film shot over such a long time is that we see the ups and downs of this refugee trying to make his way in a new country while remaining closely connected to the old one. Other personal complications arise to challenge Zac’s indomitable spirit. Especially heartening is the reception Zac gets along the way from school students and country communities. It’s a serious, funny and warm film.


Review - Mountain

Review by Rod Freedman

Mountain Dir: Jennifer Peedom | Australia

Due for a cinema release later in the year, this must be seen on the big screen. Jennifer Peedom (Sherpa 2015) teams up with Richard Tognetti and the Australian Chamber Orchestra to explore our fascination with mountains and high places. Narration written by British writer Robert Macfarlane and voiced by William Defoe takes us through themes of history, wonder, risk taking, obsession, madness, peril, disaster and above all, the grandeur of the landscapes that most of us will never get to see first hand.

The cinematography is breathtaking and there are plenty of sequences narration-free for us to simply appreciate the wonders of the earth and the soaring, original music. A unique celebration of mountains and the people who revere, revel and rampage in them.


ROD FREEDMAN is an independent director and producer whose documentaries have won many Australian and international awards and screened in dozens of film festivals. Rod is particularly interested in stories about people and their life’s journeys