Connecting with a brother down under in Santa Fe

I went to Santa Fe last week to attend the 2007 Santa Fe film festival. The reason: My documentary, Bolinao 52, was selected to be part of the film festival through National Geographic's All Roads Film Project. All Roads funded this film early on in 2006.

Santa Fe Film Festival is the last film festival that Bolinao 52 would attend in 2007. And since All Roads has been so supportive with the project, I was obligated to come. Flew in Thursday night before the 8:30pm screening slot of Bolinao 52. Checked into the hotel and connected with the staff of All Roads. By 8:00pm, I hopped onto the hotel shuttle to be taken to the screening location. Soon followed me into the shuttle were a group of Australians. They all have some traces of Aboriginal people. There were Erica, a middle age woman and her "partner," Trevor. And then Darlene, an attractive woman in her 30s', and Aaron, a good looking guy climbed in. Of all, Darlene was one with the lightest skin and clear blue eyes. Darlene's film, "Crocodile Dreaming" played along with Bolinao 52 in the same program. Aaron's film "My Brother Vinnie" played later in the week.

My first impression of Aaron was that he's chatty, funny and very friendly. Aaron is the life of a party. He never ceased to tell a story or make comments about anyone or anything. And he didn't seem to stop talking. He was always the last one to leave the party. Most of the time, he went to sleep when the sun was up. But as I learned more about this man, he is an inspiration. Aaron is somewhat a well recognized actor in Australia. He appears regularly in television shows and was in a production with Cate Blanchett. But more than attention getting, Aaron's motive on his high visibility profession is to improve his people's image on screen.

Aaron Pederson, who comes from the Arrernte and Arabana nations, is one of the few Indigenous actors in the Australian film/television industry. Like the U.S., minorities are underrepresented in the media there. And the ways his people are portrayed is what Aaron often discussed in our conversation. What impressed me about this man is his REALNESS. 

Aaron's film, "My brother Vinny," is about Aaron's relationship with his brother who has Cerebral Palsy.  Aaron looks after Vinny and becomes his "care taker."
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Aaron and his brother became "ward of state" when they were young. They were foster home kids.  
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Aaron and Vinny put a cross on their Granny's grave.
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After the screening, I talked with Aaron.  I felt more connected to this man from down under.  I understood his struggles, his values and his reasons.  Our worlds are separated by an ocean but somehow we have a unique commonality.  We strive to have some sort of of dignity in a world dominated with false depiction of ourselves.  And we all try to do something about it through our work.
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1 comment:

angela said...

Aaron Like many Kooris has had more than his share of hard knocks in life and this film is inspirational and gives another side to the wonderful actor on the silver screen
He isnt out for sympathy he is just doing his story.

I hope one day he finds the solice for his dreams and carries on being very succsessful in the media

and of course the fact he is damn hot has nothing to do with anything :)