Sometimes, home is the last place you belong.
You may recognize her as a successful Canadian singer-songwriter, but Fefe Dobson can add something else to her impressive list of nominations and wins in the music industry: a Canadian Screen Awards nomination for Best Supporting Actress, for her role as Cherry C. in Home Again.
Home Again is a 2012 Canadian drama depicting the realities of unexpected deportation. The film premiered at the Toronto Film Festival just last September and is now in theatres across Canada. Directed by Sudz Sutherland and starring Tatyana Ali, Lyriq Bent, Stephan James (and, of course, Fefe Dobson), the movie explores the lives of three Jamaicans (from England, Canada and the U.S.) who find themselves deported back to Jamaica, and how they navigate their new lives in an unfamiliar “home.”
It was perfect timing when Fefe was sent the script and asked to audition; she had a month window to shoot before she stepped back into the studio. She had also just reconnected with her Jamaican father, and was learning more about her roots.
Fefe admits that she was unsure everyday on set: she was unfamiliar with acting, and more importantly, speaking with an accent which would represent her fellow Jamaicans—an accent she didn’t naturally have. “I had a language coach. I had a few language coaches, actually,” she laughs.
While the transition from stage to big screen might look easy, Fefe is honest about her venture into acting being a very difficult one. “The toughest for me is separating my reality from the role,” she says, explaining that with music, she just has to be herself, and to be another person is something very strange. “You’re always questioning yourself and wondering if you’re portraying that character in the right way or even if you’re doing well at all.”
On the immigration and deportation issues dealt with in the film, Fefe thinks the film portrays hope in unfortunate situations. “It shows the trials and tribulations. Nothing is a piece of cake. But you can get through it, find people who support you,” she says.
But telling these stories was of utmost importance to Fefe. “If I can shed light and make awareness about anything, then I’m doing my job,” she says.
Filming took place in Canada, Trinidad and Jamaica, with Fefe’s scenes primarily shot in Trinidad. She spent everyday on set, running scripts, meeting with her language coaches—it was a busy month. “I had a good time; a good busy,” she assures.
Now that her first film role was a success, 2013 is off to a bright start; Fefe has also just finished recording her next album and has a single to drop next month!
Here’s the run down:
Romance: Because she’s in love in real life, Fefe says she found it challenging to act like she’s falling for her onscreen love interest. But the sparks definitely fly between her and a certain bad boy.
Drama: Heart-breaking to watch, Home Again is about what happens when you’re separated from the ones you love and the place you call home. New relationships are created in this foreign land for the three main characters, but old ones are also torn apart…
Real-life issues: Bill C-43 (called the faster removal of foreign criminals act) is supposed to protect Canadians. But it results in a lot of automatic deportations of people who came to this country as children. To learn more about immigration issues in Canada and about Bill C-43, click here.
Home Again is in theatres now.
by Carrie Cai