ENGLEWOOD — A new short film set in Englewood tells the story of two biracial children navigating both Korean and African-American cultures.
Based on the life story of one of the filmmakers, "BlacKorea" explores race relations and addresses what it means "to be non-black/white biracial in America,” beyond the stereotypes, filmmakers Patti Kim Gill and Christine Swanson said.
The film hasn't been released, but there will be screenings at select theaters soon.
Gill's mother was a Korean immigrant with two children by a black man. Gill said that although her mother experienced difficulties in the marriage, she kept her Korean culture at the forefront while rearing both of her children.
Because of that decision, there was conflict, love, rejection, judgment and pain — all evident in the 25-minute film.
After years in an abusive marriage, Gill’s mother abruptly left and cut off all communication with her. She was 13 years old.
Gill moved from New Orleans to Englewood to live with her grandmother. The short film originates from a vlog, myseoulfood.com, which Gill called creative therapy to cope with her mother's abandonment. The 2011 vlog centered on her search for her mother. It soon garnered national attention, which led to the creation of the short film.
"It is necessary now more than ever to examine American history in a way that shows our beauty, strength, diversity and resilience," Gill said. "It took a lot of courage to make this film. I had to deal with a myriad of emotions that came with facing my truth, but my hope for this film is that it forces us to examine the full scope of our humanity and existence, which is vital no matter how uncomfortable the process may be."
The short film, based on the life of one of the filmmakers, is set in Englewood. [Provided]
The story is Gill’s and Swanson's, who’s also Korean and black and helped direct it.
The filmmakers said the film brings awareness to a topic that's rarely addressed but is relatable for anyone who's ever experienced rejection.
“This hopeful message of equality is for all,” they said. “'BlacKorea' doesn't focus on who is right and who is wrong as much as it focuses on publicly voicing a similar struggle shared by thousands of black and Asian-mixed individuals who have been shamed and who seek acceptance.”