Mar. 06, 2013 - Issue #907: Garbage Goes Green
Caught between worlds
Treacherous Heart addresses generational conflicts in immigrant communities
In Nigeria, she'd worked in television and later, in Oman, as a freelance journalist. But after arriving in Calgary in 2002, Fasegha has essentially given up working in the medium to raise her kids, only scripting some Christmas and Easter plays for her church. Still, as she adjusted, patterns in the immigrant community she was living in—particularly the conflicts that would arise between generations—intrigued her.
"I got to meet with other Nigerian women who had moved here with their families, too; some of them had older children, and I was observing the issues going on," she recalls. "One thing that became clear to me was that we as parents did not really understand the full implications of raising our children in a culture that was totally different from what we knew and felt comfortable with. And because we didn't really understand that, we were trying to raise them to be like us. Like the way we were brought up, but it didn't work, because they're in a different environment, a different culture."
That cultural divide forms the backbone of Fasegha's Treacherous Heart, a made-in-Calgary film that looks to highlight the difficulties that can spark conflict within immigrant families. Its fictional, star-crossed love story centres around Ngozi, a young Canadian woman with Nigerian roots, whose staunchly traditional parents have an arranged marriage in mind for her, and disapprove of the man she actually loves.
Treacherous Heart began as a novel she was writing for her daughter, but the familiarity of the scripted format—and her children finding out what she used to do for a living, and encouraging her to return to it—eventually brought her around.
After an uphill fundraising battle—without a demo reel of the work she'd done back in her past, "All I could say was, 'I've done this,'" she notes, adding she'd be skeptical of such an approach herself—Fasegha eventually managed to secure enough funding to film it, found an editor willing to work on a discount and shouldered directing duties in addition to writing. Treacherous Heart debuted in Calgary in 2012, where it saw an encore run, and now heads up to Edmonton.
The result, she hopes, will cast some light into the inner conflicts immigrant families face.
"Everything is different; it's not the same experiences that we had," she says, of how her generation fails to understand what their children go through in a new country. "And even if we went back to Nigeria, it was a different time. We still don't all fully understand this. So the result is we have children who are confused about who they truly are. So they find themselves caught in the middle of two worlds."
Fri, Mar 8 – Sun, Mar 10
Directed by Kathryn Fasegha
Metro Cinema at the Garneau
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