• In her new role with Screen Australia, Angela will continue to support a range of First Nations content. (Supplied)Source: Supplied
A lucky group of students have had the VIP experience at the Powerhouse Museum, catching an advanced screening of the new series of 'Little J and Big Cuz'.
Keira Jenkins

28 Feb 2020 - 6:56 AM  UPDATED 28 Feb 2020 - 10:12 AM

A special group of VIPs have converged on the Powerhouse Museum to get a first taste of the new series of NITV's Little J & Big Cuz.

Two episodes of the animation were screened for students in Year 1 to 6, followed by a talk from Aaron Fa'aoso, who plays 'Old Dog' in the series.

Mr Fa'aoso said he has loved playing the character in Little J and Big Cuz, and bringing so much joy to children like the ones he met today.

"It's been an absolute honour and privilege to be part of one of the flagships for our kids," he said.

"To be a voice in a series that's brought so much joy to our children and families but also to encapsulate our culture has been an absolute privilege and honour.

"These episodes are so cram-packed with so many cultural nuances, which is so important for our next generation because this is how we're going to drive the narrative, especially for our youth.

"Being able to provide a platform for our kids, not only for our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander kids but also the wider community to be able to engage and be able to grasp it from such a young age."

While listening to the reactions of students during the screening was daunting at first, Mr Fa'aoso said it was heartwarming to know how much the kids were enjoying the episodes.

"I was actually blown away and actually really proud," he said.

"To be able to sit with that age group and to hear that reaction and to be live in the theatre, it was like 'wow, yeah we are making a difference'.

"These kids are switched on, you've got to be on your game too. It's just a confirmation of the project. When I was asked to be involved, it was just a no-brainer.

"To see where the series has come to, to see it firsthand, the reaction, because kids are so honest, and if you're having that type of effect, it can only be good."

'Kids just love it'

Cash Carpenter, a student at Redfern Jarjums College was one of the lucky kids to attend the advance screening.

He said he enjoyed the screening and it opened up new aspirations for him.

"It was good," he told NITV News. "I want to be Old Dog."

One of his teachers, Natasha Evans, said Cash is not the only one inspired by Little J and Big Cuz.

She said the animation is a useful tool in the classroom to teach kids about culture.

"There's so many important themes in there about family, about food, about culture and it's just things that have been brought to life through a really fun, engaging cartoon," she said.

"It's a great way of teaching reading and comprehension and the kids just love it. We sit at school and watch it and there's so many comparisons that they can draw with their own lives.

"It's really relatable and enjoyable."

Mr Fa'aoso agreed, saying kids engage with the series because they can see themselves in the characters.

"It's a reflection of themselves," he said.

"I think they see themselves and if we look back on any of the cartoon series that we connected to when we were growing up, it was because we could see ourselves and we wanted to connect to that particular character.

"I think animation is so fantastic. You're still playing in this imaginary kind of world and it's kind of like a matrix where you're able to bend the rules a bit.

"You're able to take the kids on a kind of journey and a cultural journey too. We're not only able to inform our kids in terms of culture, language and preservation of culture and the way of life but we're informing in such a way that we're taking the entire next generation on a journey.

"It's about inclusivity, it's a shared history but it's also a contemporary journey as well, which is beautiful. I think that's why it connects."


Little J & Big Cuz Season 2 airs Fridays, 7.30pm on NITV. All episodes are available, streaming on SBS On Demand. 

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