Tom Zubrycki is an award-winning documentary filmmaker renowned for his distinctive observational story-telling style and his ability to get close to his subjects. During the course of a long career, Tom has evolved a strongly authored style focusing round a personal response to the big issues of the day.
His latest film is Hope Road. In the film Zacharia sets out with high hope to build a school back in his village in war torn South Sudan with dedicated Aussie supporters, but his ambitious plans are challenged when life intervenes. Hope Road, had it’s world premiere at the Sydney Film Festival on June 14, and has been nominated for the Documentary Australia Foundation (DAF) award for Best Australian documentary.
Tom’s earlier films include The Hungry Tide(2011) – a personal story about the Pacific nation of Kiribati – one of the countries in the world on the front-line of climate change, Temple of Dreams (2007), about the struggle of a group of young Muslim Australians to keep open a youth centre in Sydney’s west, and Molly & Mobarak (2003), a story about a relationship between a young Afghani refugee and a school-teacher in an Australian country town. Molly & Mobarak opened the Margaret Mead Film Festival (2003), was screened in competition at IDFA (2003), and had a national cinema release. These two films take up the themes of displacement, identity and cultural difference – ideas that Tom been exploring since the 90’s in films such as Homelands (1993) and Billal (1996).
In 2000 he completed The Diplomat a documentary about Jose Ramos-Horta, the exiled East Timorese freedom-fighter and the final two years of his quarter-century campaign to achieve independence for his country. The film won two Australian Film Institute Awards – Best Director and Best Documentary.
His other films have included Vietnam Symphony (2006), The Secret Safari (2002), Lord of the Bush (1990), Bran Nue Dae (1991), Friends and Enemies (1987), Kemira – Diary of a Strike (1984) and Waterloo (1981).
Tom also works as a producer mentoring emerging filmmakers. His credits include Exile in Sarajevo (1996, International Emmy for Best Documentary), Whiteys Like Us (1998), Dr Jazz (1999), Stolen Generations (2000), Making Venus (2001), Gulpilil – One Red Blood (2002), The Prodigal Son (2005), A Fighting Chance (2007), Mad Morro (2008), Wanja (2008), Intervention – Katherine NT, (2008), Stolen (2009), Big Boss (2012), Light from the Shadows (2012), and The Sunnyboy (2013).
Apart from directing Tom teaches master-classes at the Australian Film, TV & Radio School, and in the past he has taught documentary at UTS and Metro Screen.
In 2010 Tom received the Stanley Hawes Award “in recognition of outstanding contribution to documentary filmmaking in Australia”.
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