Wild Side ABC TV series- Aaron Pedersen

Wild Side ABC TV series-  Aaron Pedersen

The critically and audience acclaimed ABC drama series 'WILDSIDE' starring Aaron Pedersen is available on a 2-disc DVD now.

Aaron Pedersen is an Arrernte man who was born in Alice Springs a little more than 30 years ago. When growing up, Aaron believed images of indigenous Australians on television were stereotypical and negative. After training as a television journalist, Aaron had a natural transition into acting. He says: "I always had the acting bug as a kid and it wasnt difficult because my people have been performing through dance and acting for 40,000 years."

Through his television work on Wildside, Water Rats, MDA and most recently, Secret Life of Us (playing the footballer love interest of Deborah Mailman), Aaron has championed the changing representation of indigenous people in Australia. The narrow casting of Indigenous actors in Australia is something Aaron feels strongly about. In fact, his own casting in the TV dramas Wildside and Water Rats as a character whose Aboriginality had nothing to do with the storyline paved the way for many of his fellow Indigenous actors. Deb Mailman's role in Secret Life has strong parallels with Aaron's career, so it is fitting that the two played opposite each other in the drama. " Channel 10 took a big punt by putting me opposite Deb as a love interest," says Aaron. "It's great they've put two young people of Indigenous descent together and just considered them actors. It's fun - it's great working with Deb."

Aaron has proved himself as an actor of great charisma and talent. He is noted in his profession and community as an outspoken and passionate advocate for cultural values. This has been made apparent through various invitations to speak and perform. Just this year, he was asked to act in a play reading of Conversations With The Dead at the United Nations in New York City and speak at the Gallery of NSW on his journey as an indigenous artist in Australia.

Aarons integrity and leadership have won him the respect and admiration of commercial producers, directors, writers and fellow actors, but it is the value he places on grass roots community feedback that makes him unique. This year alone, Aaron spent many weekends visiting indigenous communities for the Department of Housing in NSW, he has completed the voice over for an ad as the spokesperson for SNAKE CONDOMS which is an initiative started by Marie Stopes International - Australia (MSIA) to bring improved health and quality of life to women and their families in Indigenous communities through reproductive health care. Aaron is also an ambassador for the Strong & Safe Campaign for 2004 which provides Indigenous young people aged 16 to 24 with information, advice and a range of innovative and practical measures designed to increase the desire and capacity to form and maintain non-violent, non-abusive relationships.

His ability to take on politically charged roles, creating a full and complex character has helped challenge stereotypes and deliver memorable performances like his role in the Nick Parsons film Dead Heart or in Richard Frankland's stage play Conversations With The Dead.

Aaron carries his cultural identity not as a burden, but as a badge of honour. He has reached some distinctive highpoints in an already illustrious career and this Award is in recognition of the contribution hell continue to make in the future as an actor of excellence and a leader in the arts. " I've certainly chosen a career I'm going to enjoy for the rest of my life - or I enjoy aspects of it, except the unemployment!" he says. "I don't think too many people in the world are actually doing something they love. But I've got to keep seeing through the emptiness of it and get some depth out of it."

Certainly, Aaron is now looking at extending his body of work - he says his particular interest lies in arthouse projects rather than huge commercial ventures. To that end, he'd like to travel overseas, to either the United States or Europe. And for Aaron, it would be a dream come true if he could one day work with the veteran actor Charles 'Bud' Tingwell. " If there's any type of career you want to have, it's one like Bud's," says Aaron. "He's chosen an incredible journey and he hasn't necessarily sold out either." And when Aaron isn't working, he says: "I do a lot of swimming and I do a lot of thinking - that's one of my hobbies! I have a good time doing that - I actually enjoy it." And while he's in New York, he'll have to try to keep up with what's happening in the footy back home. "I'm a bit of an AFL nut. I'm a Bombers supporter - I have been for years."

Career Summary:
Film - Grange, Unfinished Business; Saturday Night; Dark Love Story; Dead Heart/ Teachers Aide

Television series/films - Secret Life of Us; MDA; Grass Roots; Water Rats; Wildside; Territorians; Heartlands

Theatre - Black Medea, Malthouse Theatre Company (Company B); Eating Ice Cream with Your Eyes Closed, Queensland Theatre Company; The Club, Sydney Theatre Company; Conversations with the Dead, Playbox Theatre

Wildside Series 1 Episodes 1-3 is available on DVD from ABC Shops, ABC Centres, ABC Online www.abcshop.com.au and leading video retailers for $29.95SRP


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