Listen to Bernie on the NSW Everyday Heroes Podcast

Bernie Shakeshaft is on a mission to change the lives of regional kids who Australia has left behind.

Bernie’s Acceptance Speech – Australian of the Year

Bernie Shakeshaft wins 2020 Australian Local Hero of the Year, for his work with disadvantaged youth in his community of Armidale.

Backtrack Boys is Making a Profound Impact

What impact can one man and his dog jumping team have on the lives of young people doing it tough in the bush? A profound one – Catherine Scott.

Rusty and Zac
12 Months On

Find out how Rusty and Zac are doing now after the film.

Enjoy These
Film Outtakes

Watch these entertaining clips you didn’t get to see!

Educational Clips and Resources Now Available

Excited to announce that the ATOM guide clips are available now.


This opens theatrically in Australia on Thursday. 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

“This is one of the most moving and important documentaries to be made in Australia for the last 20 years. Or maybe ever. This is profound, extraordinary film-making. This is what a camera is made to do. These are the stories we need to hear.”
Tracey Korsten – Glam Adelaide

“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

“In the past 5 or more years of reviewing movies for All About Entertainment, I have probably seen over 100 movies. Backtrack Boys is by far the best movie I have seen in a long time. The honesty, passion, determination, commitment, authenticity, and its ultimate love, makes this movie an absolute must for every person in Australia and the world to see.”
Joe – All About Entertainment

“Catherine’s Scott’s frequently moving fly-on-the-wall documentary vividly depicts kids changing and maturing with the help of Shakeshaft, the dogs and many volunteers..this is inspirational stuff!”
David Stratton – Film Reviewer

“This is an awesome, heartening and important film. Every school, every town, has troubled kids who will end up dead or in jail, if nobody gives them the love they need. We usually fail these kids, but we don’t need to. Backtrack Boys is grounded, human, real, and hard, but so heartening. Dogs are at the heart of it too! Its screening RIGHT NOW in many cinemas, I will post details in the comments. If you are a TEACHER I think it will help you from the very first minute, YOUTHWORKERS, COUNSELLORS, and of course parents will learn so much of use about helping kids with their emotions, and their healing and hopes.”
Steve Biddulph – Raising Boys

“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

Media Reviews

The Guardian

BackTrack boys: the jackaroo and his dogs giving at-risk kids a second chance — the ‘unconventional’ BackTrack youth program has received little funding, but achieved big results – thanks in part to the canines at its core.

Sunrise TV

Watch Bernie from BackTrack Youth Works on Sunrise discussing his program and the Australian film everyone is talking about – Backtrack Boys! To see the clip on sunrise head to 2:41:00 on the video clip here

The Fierce

“In Catherine Scott’s affecting and often heartbreaking documentary Backtrack Boys are a remarkable testament to the ability to reset the path of marginalised kids”.


Backtrack Boys has the power to change each mind and capture each heart of every audience member, will you be next?

Doco of the Month

… Shakeshaft is a great male role model, teaching the boys to be nonviolent, compassionate, generous young men.
“And they’re going into the community and they’re passing it on, they’re mentoring each other and mentoring other people in the community. And it’s just like a ripple effect…”

Metro Magazine

Four-page feature article

MamaMia Outlanders

“It’s just bloody brilliant! Backtrack Youth Work takes in young people that no one else will. They heal then with dogs, the cutest damn dogs you’ve ever seem. It’s beautiful”

ABC Conversations, Richard Fidler

The Curb

This film will move you. It’ll make you cry. Heck, I’ll reiterate that I’ve shed a tear or two just thinking about the film as I write this review. Simply put: this is one of the best Australian films of the year.

All stills available in high res – please email us at and we will send you a link