Pulling all sorts of stunts 

Stuntwoman Maja Aro is teaching filmmakers and actors how it's done in workshop

click to enlarge PHOTO SUBMITTED - Grace and danger Stuntwoman Maja Aro will teach filmmakers and actors how to work stunts into their movies.
  • Photo submitted
  • Grace and danger Stuntwoman Maja Aro will teach filmmakers and actors how to work stunts into their movies.

Stuntwoman Maja Aro is pretty busy at the moment.

"There's a lot of projects coming to film here in B.C.," she says.

Most recently she has been filming a new TV series — which she can't talk about.

There are not that many stuntwomen in this part of the world and Aro has been a professional for the past decade.

Other films and TV shows the 31-year-old has worked on include 2012, Godzilla and Arrow.

How did she find her calling?

"I competed in a lot of extreme sports. I used to downhill ski race, I used to ride show horses, race mountain bikes... and then I met a bunch of stunt guys and they explained to me what the job was and what else I could do to get into it," Aro says.

She picked up martial arts and gymnastics and she was good to go.

"That was my formative training to get into stunts," she says.

"There isn't really anything you can train in. It's really weird. Actors take classes and we take a lot of specialty courses. We train really hard... there isn't something specific that you have to do, but there are many things that you can learn to do really well."

Whatever skills you can learn at a high level makes you more employable, Aro says.

Her specialties are mountain biking, wire work (a.k.a. flying) and being "a hard hitter." It's not what you think.

"I'm known in Vancouver as a hard hitter. I'm the girl who can take a hard hit; I get lots of those kinds of stunts," she says.

This includes high falls.

"It depends what you have to perform action-wise. Sometimes I perform one where you're peacefully killing yourself and you're still and not flapping your arms. Just staying calm," says Aro.

"And I've done ones where I've been pushed and you're flapping your arms. Each time it's different. You're basically staying in character. I do my best to make it as seamless as possible to show what the character would do."

Originally from Williams Lake, Aro now lives in Britannia Beach on Howe Sound with her husband, who is also a stuntman.

She is running a workshop, Demystifying Stunts, from her home on Sunday, June 21 from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The aim is to demonstrate and break down the planning of movie stunts safely and is open to filmmakers, actors and others in the industry.

This is the first time she has taught others.

It is being sponsored by Women in Film & Television Vancouver. It costs $60 for WIFTV members and $100 for non-members.

"I will explain the stunts because I am the only stuntwoman in WIFTV and directors and producers often don't really understand how to incorporate stunts into their films, or how to write it or break it down," Aro says. "Often people don't know who to ask when it comes to coordinating a stunt scene."

For more information and to book a place visit www.womeninfilm.ca.



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