Film & Original

Film & Original Playlist

KAS 2017 RECAP REEL

2017 was an extraordinary year for KAS. Here’s a look back at some of our highlights from last year.

Call Taxi

Jason gets in a Korean taxi to catch a 6:30 AM flight from JFK. To his surprise, his father is the driver. The father makes an unwelcomed pit stop at a 24-hour Korean supermarket to buy snacks for Jason. When the father and son get back in the car, the car fails to start. A conversation that should have happened years ago, occurs between the two men.

3 Generations Visit Korea

What would it be like for 3 generations to travel together in Korea? Walk through one family’s journey of discovering and revisiting where they come from, while passing through the natural landscapes of the countryside and modern city of Seoul.

K-Town Stories: Flushing Trailer

In this trailer of K-Town Stories: Flushing, the directors Peter Lee and Julian Kim talk about the importance of preserving the stories of our community.

K-Town Stories: Flushing – Homework

Newly immigrated from Korea and unable to read or speak English, a mother wanders around the streets of Flushing with her young son in order to find someone who can explain his homework.

In partnership with Swallowtail Studios, founded by Julian Kim and Peter Lee, KoreanAmericanStory.org will produce a series of films which depict the lives of Korean Americans in Koreatowns around the country.

Homework is one out of three short films in the K-Town Stories: Flushing trilogy.

To My People

Born in New Jersey, Deborah Kim grew up in Staten Island but frequently visited Korea since she was a child—forming a multicultural identity that made her feel like an outsider in both societies. At a young age, she began experimenting with spoken word poetry after discovering Def Poetry Jam on YouTube. Now currently training to become a professional dancer, Deborah will be moving to Korea in 2016 to teach English while studying ballet and breaking but hopes to continue using spoken word and dance as a way to tell stories that reflect on relationships, social boundaries, and identity.

The Importance of Storytelling

Jannie Chung explains why she shares her story with others—sentiments that capture the essence of our organization.

Best Day Ever

The Mental Health Channel presents this short documentary film on 26 year-old Grace Kim’s battle with depression & suicidal thoughts and the unique project she undertook in her journey to overcome her mental illness.

About KoreanAmericanStory.org

This video premiered at the 5 Year Anniversary Gala where KoreanAmericanStory.org’s Trailblazer Awards were given to Sandra Oh, Jonathan “Dumbfoundead” Park and Thomas Park Clement. This is a good introductory video about KoreanAmericanStory.org.

Where Are You Going, Thomas?: The Journey of a Korean War Orphan

This is the story of Thomas Park Clement, an abandoned bi-racial Korean War orphan, who was adopted by a white American family in 1958. He overcame many obstacles to become a successful entrepreneur and a humanitarian.

Introspective with Dan Choi

In this film Dan reflects on his journey as an activist as well as a gay man seeking acceptance from his mother and father who are conservative Christians. His father is a Southern Baptist minister in California. Dan talks openly about the challenges of being a full time activist, the emotional and mental toll which has resulted in him being hospitalized for mental health treatment, and the Christian values that enabled him to get through the difficult times even as he felt abandoned and ostracized by the Christian community in which he grew up.

Korean American Story at Millions March NYC

KoreanAmericanStory.org participated in the #MillionsMarchNYC on December 13th, 2014 at Washington Square Park. We took the opportunity to seek out other Asian Americans who were at the demonstration and asked them why they were there. #BlackLivesMatter

The Choi Family

“The Choi Family” is a fictionalized account of the family, whose last name is “Cho”, and the events surrounding them after the Virginia Tech massacre.

Documentary of Democracy Prep Charter School

Democracy Prep is a charter school based in Harlem which is attended mostly by African American and Hispanic students. One unique aspect of Democracy Prep High School is that all students are required to take classes in Korean language and culture. In this video, we explore the perspectives of the school’s founder, Seth Andrew, its teachers and students.

The Great Korean American Divide

A short documentary following Korean American individuals, whose lives present factors that create generational differences, and a possible way to bridge the gap.

Harmonie’s Story

This is a video I made about my mom for my two quappa (quarter Korean) kids. It sums up that special relationship between a Korean grandma and her grandkids. The central figure is Grandmother…and yes, I know I spelled Halmoni wrong but that is just how we roll with it in our family. Harmonie fits our multiracial family better since it is close to “harmony” which is a combination of things that are pleasant together – that’s us!

Stories from Koko Living’s Night at the Rooftop

KoreanAmericanStory.org recorded stories of Korean Americans at the KoKo Living Magazine’s “Night at the Rooftop” event on October, 21, 2011.

Corona Senior Center of Korean Community Services

In this video piece, Kimberly So Jin Kim of KoreanAmericanStory.org provides a glimpse of the Corona Senior Center, a service that is run by the Korean Community Services of New York (KCSNY.org) to meet the staff members, volunteers and the elderly Korean-Americans who utilize their services.

Heard ‘Em All by Ameriie

Ameriie is a popular Grammy nominated singer who is half Korean and half black, and this music video is a companion piece to the Profile of Ameriie written by Julie Young.

I Wonder

“Ever since I discovered that I was adopted (at the age of 18), I’ve always wanted to write a song that captured my experience and gratitude toward my biological mother.

Senator Paull Shin’s Speech at KACF Fundraiser

This 2 part video is a speech that was given by the Senator Paull Shin of Washington State at the Korean American Community Foundation’s (KACF) 5th Annual Gala in October, 2010.

Move the Crowd

A documentary following the lives of two hip-hop Korean American artists, Sarah “Skim” Kim and Jonathan “Dumbfoundead” Park. There are some good performances by these artists about 10 minutes into the video. This documentary was produced and directed by Reed Nakamura.

Chicken Man

This moving documentary follows the life of Chris Hwang, a Korean-American pastor known affectionately by the homeless he serves as “Chicken Man”.  Produced and directed by Mi Jung Youm and Jason Shutt.

God is Good

This film is based on a true story written by Dennis Lee and directed by Caryn Waechter. It is a tragic story of a Korean-American family in the 1970’s.

Korean-American Mosaic: Portraits of a Vibrant Community

Korean-American Mosaic: Portraits of a Vibrant Community captures 100 years of Korean-American immigration history.

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.

I would have been more at peace had Cho looked like someone I would never encounter. In that case, I could have distanced myself from the event. But to me, his appearance was not menacing or unfamiliar. Whenever I saw his face, I instantly thought of my friends, relatives, and even my own brother.

During this film, I experienced more unease because I could not help but identify with the characters, all Korean immigrants living in America, just like my family. As I saw how the actions of Cho, who struggled with mental sickness, affected his sister, mother, and father, I began to ask the questions Cho’s family members seemed to be asking themselves. What more could have been done for him and his illness? What possibly went unnoticed or ignored?

In this short film, the actors manage to convey the sorrow and confusion of the family members in the aftermath, as expressed in a public statement made by Cho’s sister mere days after the shooting occurred: “We are humbled by this darkness. We feel hopeless, helpless and lost. This is someone that I grew up with and loved. Now I feel like I didn’t know this person….He has made the world weep. We are living a nightmare.”

“The Choi Family,” despite being less than eight minutes long, gives us an intimate glimpse into what this nightmare might have been like for Cho’s family after the Virginia Tech massacre.

* “The Choi Family” is a fictionalized account of the family, whose last name is “Cho”, and the events surrounding them after the Virginia Tech massacre.

Starring: EJ An, Alexis Rhee and Sammy Rhee

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ABOUT JASON STEFANIAK

Emmy-award winning writer and director Jason Stefaniak uses the art of storytelling to help make sense of the complicated world in which we live. Using a multidisciplinary approach, Jason sees his subjects through the eyes of an anthropologist, immersing himself in the culture of the people whose story he hopes to one day tell. Shaped by his strong female upbringing, Jason is a social entrepreneur and believes in the ability to foster social and political change through the juxtaposition of social activism and filmmaking.

Jason is currently pursuing a Master of Fine Arts in Film and Television Production at the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University. His film credits from that program include the short narrative film The Garden, a short documentary titled The Organizer’s Burden, and the short narrative film The Choi Family, among others. Jason is currently in post-production on his thesis film The Middle Ground, is producing the feature film But Not For Me, and is developing his first feature film as a writer/director.

“We continually tell the story of our life to make sense of the lives we are living.” www.JasonStefaniak.com

annakang-profile-smABOUT ANNA KANG

Anna Kang was born in South Korea, grew up in North Carolina, and now studies psychology at Barnard College of Columbia University in New York. She has a fascination with the human condition and loves to write, study Chinese, and appreciate media, art, culture, fashion, & food.

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