‘Home Again’ explores harsh reality of deportees

‘Home Again’ explores harsh reality of deportees

Written by Editor

Topics: Film & Theatre

Emotions run high in “Home Again”, a film that follows the return of three deportees to their “home” in Jamaica – a place that has become a far cry from the idyllic memories of their childhood. They struggle to adjust to the unfamiliar and harsh realities that make their attempts at reintegration fraught with strife and anguish. Directed by David “Sudz” Sutherland, a Canadian with Jamaican roots, the film stars Tatyana Ali (“Fresh Prince of Bel-Air”, “Mother and Child”, “Love That Girl!”), Jamaican-born Lyriq Bent (“Rookie Blue”, “Guns”, “SAW” series), and Canadian newcomer Stephan James (“Clue”, “Degrassi: The Next Generation”).

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Kadeem Wilson, Paul Campbell and Brian Brown at the media screening of “Home Again” at the Carib 5 cinema at Cross Roads in Kingston on September 18, 2013.

The cast also includes celebrated homegrown talent Paul Campbell (“Third World Cop”, “Shottas”), Kadeem Wilson (“Ghett’a Life”) and Brian Brown, as well as Guyanese-born American actress CCH Pounder (“Avatar”, “Warehouse 13”); and Canadian singer/songwriter (with Jamaican roots) Fefe Dobson in her debut feature film role. The film, which was shot in Canada, Jamaica and largely in Trinidad, was written by Sudz Sutherland and his wife Jennifer Holness, who also served as the film’s producer.

The film’s story is one that needed to be told, and the solid cast delivered a credible performance that will go a far way in highlighting the plight of many deportees, who are sent back to Jamaica after decades abroad and eventually become consumed by the system. Beyond the issues related to the authenticity of the Jamaican accent as delivered by non-Jamaican actors and the challenge of smoothly converging three parallel stories, the film communicates its message strongly enough and should serve as an eye opener for persons unfamiliar with the ordeal of deportees.

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From left: Jennifer Holness, writer and producer of “Home Again”, with actors Paul Campbell and Kadeem Wilson.

While the film is sure to elicit an emotional response from viewers, it has already significantly stirred the emotions of the local film fraternity for reasons that run deeper than final product on the silver screen. Shackled by a seemingly inflexible policy that renders Jamaica the least favourable option for filmmaking, Jamaica lost out to Trinidad as the main location for a film that tells a Jamaican story. According to Jennifer Holness, without the 35 per cent tax rebate offered by Trinidad, the film would not have been made. She expressed the hope that the ongoing discussions on the matter will serve as a point of departure for the Jamaican government to review the incentive policy of the creative industries.

“Home Again” is currently being shown in Jamaica at Carib 5, Palace Multiplex, Palace Cineplex and Odeon.

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