korean american film festival new york, march 17-20

Film fans! If you're in New York, the Korean American Film Festival NY opens this week. Now in its fifth year, KAFFNY is the only New York-based independent film festival showcasing Korean American and Korean diasporic perspectives in film. The festival runs March 17-20 at Chelsea Clearview Cinemas, White Box and Big Screen Project.

This year, KAFFNY honors veteran documentary filmmaker Dai-Sil Kim Gibson with a retrospective of six pioneering films, including a screening and discussion of her landmark documentaries Sa-I-Gu and Wet Sand. Here are some more details, including a summary of the full film day lineup:

International Premiere: THE BOAT (Chelsea Clearview): Korean Japanese co-production directed by Young Nam Kim, tells the unlikely story of a cross-cultural friendship that develops between a couple of smugglers, Hyung Gu (Ha Jung Woo) and his contact on the other side, a young Japanese man called Toru (Tsumabuki Satoshi).

NYC Premiere THE HOUSE OF SUH (Chelsea Clearview): Award-winning documentary by Iris Kim recounts the chilling story of the House of Suh, an immigrant family whose pursuit of happiness quickly became riddled with misfortune, culminating on September 25, 1993, when Andrew shot and killed his older sister’s fiancĂ© of eight years, Robert O’Dubaine, at Catherine’s bidding.

NYC Nontheatrical Gallery Premiere PSYCHOHYDROGRAPHY (Chelsea Clearview, White Box, Big Screen Project): An analysis of the flow of water from mountain to aqueduct, city to sea. Shot at and around the Eastern Sierra Nevada, Owens Valley, Los Angeles Aqueduct, Los Angeles River and Pacific Ocean. HD video constructed entirely from single frame photography, directed by Peter Bo Rappmund

US Premiere THE WOMAN, THE ORPHAN, AND THE TIGER (Chelsea Clearview, White Box, Big Screen Project): The third film in a trilogy of narrative experimental films by Jane Jin Kaisen dealing with international adoption and the ideological, geopolitical, historical, and psychological effects of that process. This film looks at the legacy of international adoption from a feminist perspective and within a transgenerational and transnational scope. Directed by Jane Jin Kaisen and Guston Sondig-Kung.


CENTRE FORWARD (Chelsea Clearview) - North Korea’s first football film originally made in 1978, remastered by Koryo Tours in 2010. This 75 minute film is well known in North Korea but has never been released internationally. Fascinating both as an example of North Korean filmmaking and a strong story of overcoming athletic adversity, CENTRE FORWARD is at once inspirational, dramatic, amusing, and educational. Even better, by showing the sport’s importance in societies very different from our own, this illustrates the truly universal appeal of the 'beautiful game'. Directed by Pak Chong Song.

RED CHAPEL (Chelsea Clearview) - One of last year’s standout films at Sundance, where the film had its US premiere. RED CHAPEL is a feature-length documentary about a journalist without scruples, a self-proclaimed spastic and a comedian who travel to North Korea under the guise of a cultural exchange visit to challenge the totalitarian regime. Directed by Mads Bruegger.


Born in northern Korea when it was under Japanese colonial rule, Dai Sil Kim-Gibson came to the United States in 1962 to pursue graduate studies. She received her Ph.D. in religion from Boston University, and taught at Mount Holyoke College, which was followed by her career as a federal and state government employee: senior program officer at the National Endowment for the Humanities and director of the media program of the New York State Council on the Arts. She resigned from the New York State Council on the Arts to pursue a film career in 1988, going on to produce an array of award-winning films.

Sa-I-Gu (3/4" video, 36 minutes), or "April 29," about the 1992 Los Angeles crisis from the perspectives of Korean woman shopkeepers, was praised by the Washington Post as "a passionate point of view piece." A Forgotten People: The Sakhalin Koreans (16 mm, 59 minutes), her film about the forced Korean laborers on Sakhalin island, victims of World War II and the Cold War, was called "a bracing reminder of the human victims in the global chess game played by superpowers" by the Los Angeles Times. Silence Broken: Korean Comfort Women, a powerful documentary about Korean women forced into sexual servitude by the Japanese Imperial Military during World War II was called "a wrenching and formally inventive film," by the Village Voice. Wet Sand: Voices from LA (2004) explores the aftermath of the 1992 Los Angeles civil! unrest and has been shown at numerous festivals in the United States and abroad, including the 8th Pusan International Film Festival in Korea and the 12th Pan African Film Festival in Los Angeles. Her most recent film,

Motherland (Cuba Korea USA), had a sold out world premiere at the 11th Pusan International Film Festival in October, 2006. It is currently distributed by Women Make Movies in New York City. In addition, she produced and wrote America Becoming, a feature documentary, and Olivia's Story, a 14-minute drama, directed by Charles Burnett, was cablecast on Sundance Channel in 2001.

Chelsea Clearview, Sat 3/19 - Sun 3/20:
Sa-I-Gu: From Korean Women’s Perspectives (1993)
Wet Sand: Voices from LA (2004)
Olivia’s Story, directed by Charles Burnett (1999)
A Forgotten People: The Sakhalin Koreans (1995)
Motherland (Cuba Korea USA) (2006)
Silence Broken: Korean Comfort Women (88 min version) (1999)

Richard the Elite University Student from London by Lee Yong-seung
Affair (Jung) by Dou Xing
Heart by Erick Oh
Apple by Jung Chul
To Wander in Pandemonium by Edward Kim
Mist Trail by Andrew Oh
Triangle by Janice Ahn

Works of Art by Andy Pang
The Queen by Christina Choe
The Agency by Sam Schectman
Maria the Korean Bride by Maria Yoon
Mister Green by Greg Pak
Hanji Paper Project by Aimee Lee

ether by Gi Young Rhee
Inert by Kyunghee Kang
Ajumma Are You Crazy by Brent Anbe
Chase Thompson: A Film by Chase Thompson by Vincent Lin
Rosewood by Marvin Choi
Arirang Blues by Pyeungheun Baik
Toy House by Yun Jeong Ko
Daddy Called Me a Snake by Sun Young Kim
One Blue Strip Show by So Young Yang


KAFFNY 2011 Launch Party - Sat, 3/12, ArtGate Gallery, 520 W. 27th Street, #101

MADAME FREEDOM Live Rescore - Opening Night Presentation, Thursday - Thurs, 3/17, Chelsea Clearview

LA Riots 19 Years Later Discussion with Dai Sil Kim-Gibson, Charles Burnett and Mrs. Lee Jung Hui - Sat 3/19, Chelsea Clearview

White Box + Big Screen Project Film/Video Screenings: Peter Bo Rappmund’s PSYCHOHYDROGRAPHY, Jane Jin Kaisen and Guston Sondin-Kung’s THE WOMAN, THE ORPHAN, AND THE TIGER and video works by So Young Yang - Fri 3/18, Sat 3/19, White Box/Big Screen Project

Korean American Filmmakers Panel - Sun 3/20, Chelsea Clearview


Chelsea Clearview Cinemas: 260 West 23rd St, New York, NY 10011
White Box: 329 Broome Street. New York, NY 10002
Big Screen Project: 6th Avenue between 29th and 30th Streets

All programs at White Box will be live streamed to the Big Screen Project in the public plaza behind the Eventi Hotel at 30th and 6th Ave.
Let me throw out an extra plug for The House of Suh, director Iris Shim's award-winning documentary about family, murder and the American dream. It's simply amazing. I also recommend checking out the shorts programs, where you're sure to discover some great gems. For further information, including film, ticket and venue details, go to the KAFFNY website here.

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