Q&A with “Rehoming” Actress Julie Sheppard

By Meredith Williams

Julie Sheppard is know for playing “powerhouse” roles, and her role in the Canadian short narrative “Rehoming” is no different.

“Rehoming,” which premieres during the afternoon screenings of the North Dakota Human Rights Film Festival on Friday, November 16 in Fargo, tells the story of a grief-stricken couple who adopt a child from a foreign country.

Julie, a Toronto-based actress who’s worked in film, TV, commercials, theater and voice productions, will be in attendance to watch NDHRFF18 selection premiere at the Fargo Theatre.
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Q: Before you started work on this film, were you aware of this problem (that there are no clear laws for transferring custody of an internationally adopted child?)
A: For many years, I have been particularly interested in the topic of adoption, as my husband was fortunate to be raised by wonderful adoptive parents and has since had a mostly positive experience meeting his biological parents. I also have some family friends who had a tragic experience with international adoption. Thus, when I saw the audition notice for this role, I was quite intrigued. Before working on the film, I was actually unaware of the staggering fact that there are no clear laws for transferring custody of an internationally adopted child.

Was this role different for you?
This was an emotionally challenging role. Although not the identical situation, in order to portray the role, I remembered the heartbreak that my family friends experienced when trying to adopt internationally. I am actually blessed to have two children of my own. It was a difficult role to play in that I find it very painful to know that any parent would be desperate enough to “rehome” a child.

What was it like to work with Ashley (von Both, who plays the daughter)?
Ashley, who plays my adopted daughter, is a sweet, gentle child. She possesses a quiet, yet intense presence, which I believe suits the role perfectly. Her soulful eyes tell the story of a child’s hurt and confusion, finding herself in a foreign country with a less-than-emotionally stable adoptive mother. 

What do you hope viewers will take away from the film?
My greatest wish is, after “Rehoming” is screened, that a spark will be lit in the hearts and minds of viewers and encourage them to advocate for legislation to protect these – in my mind – abandoned children.

“Rehoming” screens during the afternoon session Friday, November 16, at the Fargo Theatre. Tickets cost $12 in advance, $15 at the door, and $2 for seniors and students. A Festival Pass to all screenings in Bismarck, Fargo and Grand Forks is available for $40. To get your tickets, visit Fargo.

The mission of the North Dakota Human Rights Film and Arts Festival is to educate, engage, and facilitate discussion around local and world-wide human rights topics through the work of filmmakers and artist. 2018 is the second year for both the film and art festivals.

The 2018 North Dakota Human Rights Film and Arts Festival is made possible through the generosity of the Consensus Council, the City of Fargo’s Human Relations Commission, the City of Fargo’s Native American Commission, the Awesome Foundation: Cass Clay, and The High Plains Reader, and through partnerships with Lutheran Social Services of North Dakota, the NDSU Memorial Gallery, the North Dakota Human Rights Coalition. The Fargo screening of the film “Home.” was funded in part by Humanities North Dakota, a nonprofit, independent state partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Any views, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in the screening of “Home.” do not necessarily reflect those of Humanities North Dakota or the National Endowment for the Humanities.

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