GEOGRAPHIES OF KINSHIP

Directed by Deann Borshay Liem

Closing Night Film, 2019 CAAMFest
Audience Award and Best Feature Documentary, 2019 Asian Film Festival of Dallas

Amidst the buzz around South Korea’s miracle recovery as one of the Asian tiger economies and its hosting of the 1988 Olympics, a newspaper published a headline that read “Babies for Sale: Koreans Make Them, Americans Buy Them.” It’s only a cursory glance into the decades-long phenomena that saw a post-war fledgling nation filled with war orphans transform into an economic powerhouse and the largest adoption “sending country” in the world.

Following up on the deeply personal exploration of her own Korean adoptee identity in First Person Plural and In the Matter of Cha Jung Hee (SDAFF ‘10), Deann Borshay Liem is now fully behind the camera, expanding her inquiry to examine the US/Korea geopolitics that led to ever-increasing adoption rates. Exhaustively researched and filled with original footage and interviews with leading academics in the field, GEOGRAPHIES OF KINSHIP also focuses on the emotional first-person accounts of four non-traditional Korean adoptees–from a half Black child of a US G.I., to adoptees raised in Sweden and Switzerland. 

Their stories of inner turmoil, racism, atonement, and deep schisms with their adoptive families also lead to surprising journeys of purpose: advocating for Korean single mothers, connecting birth families with adoptees, and pushing for government recognition. Borshay proves a master of the genre, crafting her most probing documentary yet, a sympathetic and intimate study of migration, nationhood, and belonging.

–Justin Nguyen

This film is supported by a California Documentary Project grant.

Dates & Times
Museum of Photographic Arts

Sat Nov 16
2:30 pm