With one of the largest transracial and transcultural adopted communities being in Minnesota, the Minnesota Transracial Film Festival (MNTRFF) was incepted by the international adoptee organization AdopSource in order to showcase both the community and its rich diversity, as well as some of the emerging voices telling their point of view through film, words, and music since 2009.

Tonight’s Agenda:

1. Memory of Forgotten War by Deann Borshay Liem 

The year 2013 marks the sixtieth anniversary of the unofficial end to the Korean War (no formal peace was ever made), a civil war-turned-global conflict that ravaged a nation, and whose consequences continue to reverberate up an down the peninsula today. From award-winning filmmaker Deann Borshay Liem (First Person Plural; In the Matter of Cha Jung Hee) and Ramsay Liem, professor emeritus at Boston College, comes a powerful new documentary about that watershed event. Memory of Forgotten War follows the stories of four Korean Americans who witnessed firsthand the war’s devastation and its aftermath. Drawing on the oral history collection of Still Present Pasts: Korean Americans and the Forgotten War, a multimedia exhibit directed by Professor Liem, this documentary is the first to tell about the experiences of Korean civilians who later immigrated to the United States. The memories recounted here challenge the historical amnesia that has long characterized America’s popular understanding of the so-deemed unknown war, and serves as a cogent reminder that for survivors and their families, it has remained anything but forgotten.

2. Where Are You Going, Thomas? by Jaikyoung Choi

This is a video documentary about Thomas Park Clement’s extraordinary life. His father is assumed to be a U.S. military man who had visited Korea during the Korean War, and his mother was Korean. He was abandoned by his Korean mother when he was four or five years old after his father disappeared. He had lived homeless until he was brought to an orphanage and adopted to the Clement family from Charlotte, North Carolina in 1958. Today he runs his own multi-million dollar medical device company that is changing the world now. He is also helping Korean adoptees all over the world. Produced by Jackie Choi, a Korean writer and graduate student of Indiana University.

3. Searching for Go-Hyang by Tammy Chu

A moving personal documentary, SEARCHING FOR GO-HYANG traces the return of twin sisters to their native Korea after a fourteen year absence. Sent away by their parents for the promise of a better life in the US, they instead suffered mental and physical abuse by their adoptive parents, including the erasure of their cultural heritage and language. Reunited with their biological parents and brothers, the young women explore their past in an attempt to reconnect with their “Go-Hyang”, their homeland, which they find they may not have a place in anymore. Thousands of Korean and Chinese girl babies have been brought to the US for adoption in the last twenty years. This beautiful video is a rare feminist look at the issues of cross-cultural adoption and national identity.

4. Emerging Adoptee Filmmaker Selection

5. PANEL DISCUSSION featuring Deann Borshay Liem and Ramsay Liem, Angela and Bryan Tucker, Thomas Park Clement, Dawn Tomlinson, Jenni Fang Lee

6. Closure by Brian Tucker

Since Angela was a young girl, she had unrelenting questions surrounding her birth story. Who was her birth mother? Birth father? Did they abandon her at the hospital? Angela was adopted at the age of one, under the terms of a ‘closed’ adoption, given that her birth parents chose not to provide any identifying information. As an African-American raised by a Caucasian couple in a diverse family, consisting of seven other adopted siblings, Angela had a confused sense of identity growing up. As she grew older it became apparent that the unanswered questions about her story would continue to haunt her if she did not at least attempt to find the answers.  Along the way, Angela’s adoptive family wrestles with tough questions throughout the process. “Why does Angela need to know her birth family?” “Aren’t we enough?”

This documentary follows Angela for a period of two years during the search for her birth family, leading up to some key defining moments in her life: finding her birth mother and being rejected by her; finding her birth father and learning that he never knew she existed; and reuniting with her birth mother one year later for a redemptive climax to her pursuit of closure.


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