The Choi Family
"You had a hundred billion chances and ways to have avoided today. But you decided to spill my blood," says Seung-Hui Cho, in a video he mailed to NBC on the day he opened fire on fellow students on April 16, 2007, an event that became known as the Virginia Tech massacre.
"You forced me into a corner and gave me only one option. The decision was yours. Now you have blood on your hands that will never wash off."
Cho, filled with hatred and pain, spoke directly to the camera, haunting viewers with the words of a dead man who killed 32 people before taking his own life.
But in the short film, "The Choi Family"*, there is no rage or wrath—only the grief and chaos surrounding a family left to pick up the pieces of a world shattered by tragedy. Jason Stefaniak, an NYU film student whose girlfriend was at Virginia Tech at the time of the shooting, chose to focus on imagining Cho's family in the aftermath of the shooting. How would they cope not only with the loss of Cho but also his act of mass murder?
The Choi Family was selected as one of the REEL 13 films , and the film with the most number of votes will be aired on Saturday night, February 22nd of WNET/Thirteen station. You can submit your vote until 5pm EST on Wednesday, February 19th, so please go support this film by voting on http://www.thirteen.org/reel13/vote/
Though the filmmaker's main intention behind "The Choi Family" was not to discuss the Korean immigrant experience or mental health, these were topics that came into my mind as I watched the short film. Before the shooting, it seemed like virtually no one in my life outside of my family and our small immigrant community in North Carolina knew who Koreans were. But in the days following the tragic event, the name "Seung-Hui Cho" and the pictures of a Korean man were plastered all over the news. It made me uncomfortable and even ashamed that the first Korean I had ever seen featured so prominently in American media would be remembered as a killer who perpetrated one of the deadliest acts of violence in U.S. history.More info