Backtrack Boys

Wild boys and the dogs that tame them.




Dir:Catherine Scott



A group of troubled boys are on a perilous course towards jail until they meet up with the rough talking, free-wheeling jackaroo, Bernie Shakeshaft, and hit the road with his legendary dog jumping team.

This observational documentary, filmed over two years, follows boys in a youth program that Bernie runs from a shed on the outskirts of Armidale, a rural town in Australia. On the road, the boys find their voice, make great friendships and the dogs become national champions. But as the boy’s sleep under the stars at night the trauma is never too far away. With their survival and futures at stake they must constantly step up, push themselves, support each other and some days can be hard. This inspiring coming of age story reveals the challenges and triumphs these boys face as they try to find their place in the world, and the dogs that help tame their wild ways.

A life-affirming documentary, Backtrack Boys explores Bernie’s philosophy in action and through the journey of the kids in his care. It reveals how he helps them to 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 future for themselves.


Please note: The creators of Backtrack Boys are passionate about making a difference with this documentary and may be in contact via email with audiences members after screenings to get their thoughts. Please contact us at if you prefer not to be contacted.

Please consider making your screening a fundraiser for Back Track Youth Works or any other organisation of your choice. Contact us at for more info.


Bernie Shakeshaft, Merlin, Sport, Robin, Arco, Gibson, Striker, Girl, Lou, Flash, Bindi, Roxy,


Producer, Director, Writer Cinematographer - Catherine Scott, Editor - Andrea Lang, Composers - Kristin Rule & Jonathan Zwartz

fan quotes:

"It’s really special. Go and see it. Write stories about it. Tell your friends. This fella Bernie, he’s a good fella, a bit of a genius really. What a great story."
- Russel Crowe

“The wisdom and poetry of these young blokes trying to break through well worn defences and attacks is both heart breaking and heart warming, a wild and rewarding ride that puts it all in perspective.”
- Tom Harkin – Man Up

“I sincerely urge everybody to see this movie and maybe take some tissues with you as it absolutely a brilliant piece of honest movie making. Never have I given a movie a 5-star rating before. Definitely 5 tear jerking stars.” ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
- Joe Turtur – All About Entertainment


current screenings