Korean Adoptee Film A Centerpiece Of San Diego Asian Film Festival Opening Thursday
The centerpiece film of this year San Diego Asian film Festival takes us on a journey of identity. A.k.a. soul is set in Seoul South Korea. For Korean-American top these now adults explore the winding streets, the sights and sounds of the country they were born in. One of the adults featured in the film is Dan Matthews whose own story was featured in the film a.k.a. Dan. Joining me is Dan Matthews. He's an alum of San Diego state. A Korean-American adoptee, hip-hop artist and producer of KA -- a.k.a. soul. In a.k.a. Dan, that's the original movie, you shared your journey of going back to Korea. How the death film lead to this new one? After we were done with the first film, I realized after I met so many incredible people out there, that if I had an interesting story that I knew so many other adoptees around the world would have interesting stories. We knew that if we had an opportunity to capture some more stories we wanted to do that. Luckily we had another opportunity to go out to Korea this past summer, the opportunity came about to document some more and we knew we had to jump on that. We have a brief clip from the new film a.k.a. soul Korea. I think my family will tell you that nobody thought I would live to be 30. Going up in a Jewish household for me it added a new layer to being unique and being different. Spec maybe this is the only time the ever me. I made sure to grab them both at the same time as much as I could. Can you give us a preview of the stories that you were able to tell in this film? It sold in an anthology so we have about five different stories. One is about my mom meeting my biological mom and we captured that and it was kind of a bookend to when I first met my biological family and then we have a girl from Scotland. First time being in Korea, first time experiencing anything Korean him a we have an artist from Boston and it's about him whining his art in Korea. We have a chance gender male and it's about him for the very first time being male in Korea. And then we have a girl from the Midwest that's about her wondering around the United States and around the world trying to find herself. Ultimately they all overlap a little bit near the end. They are just different layers of the adoptee identity. Give us context about Korean adoptions. Why is Korea such an attractive place for American couples? It stems partly from the Korean War and around the 70s 80s and 90s, it was a little easier to adopt from Korea. People from around the world, not just America were adopting Korean babies. It was maybe a little more efficient and I hate to use the word cheaper but I think it was cheaper to adopt Korean babies at that time. Did you find that even though you have an international cast in this particular documentary, that there were similar experiences that you all had growing up as Korean adoptees? I think from an identity standpoint, the one thing we definitely shared was this idea of feeling caught in between two worlds. A lot of us grew up in atmospheres where we were the only Asian people in the city so I think having to go through that deftly shapes your identity that really not knowing exactly what it is that you are in particularly, for us to often times, each of us may be with through a moment where we rejected our Asian heritage and then also had a moment where we really wanted to recapture that Asian heritage. When did you want to turn these stories into a film? I think it's important to capture stories like this because as Korean adoptees there are limited content as adoptees in general, as Asian Americans in general, there is limited opportunities for us to be able to see that look like us or represents us. I know whenever I have opportunities to have that platform, I really do want to be able to create content that speaks not only to Asian-American identity, but I got the identity so we have more things that reflect our experience because ultimately media, it reaffirms that you exist in your story and lives exist. That's very important. A.k.a. Seoul is having world premiere at San Diego's Asian film Festival. When can people see it? They can see the premiere this Sunday. Sunday the sixth and it will be playing at 5:30 PM at the altar star theater. Will you be there? I will. And the cast and crew will be there too. A lot of my special guests. Later this week we will have a preview of the entire San Diego Asian film Festival here on Mid Day Edition. Right now I've been speaking with Dan Matthews executive producer of a.k.a. Seoul and thank you so much.
The 17th San Diego Asian Film Festival opens Thursday. More than 140 films from 15 countries will be shown during the festival at six different theaters throughout San Diego through Nov. 12.
The centerpiece film of the festival takes viewers on a journey of identity through the eyes of four Korean-American adoptees, now adults, who explore the winding streets, the sights and sounds of the country they were born in but never knew. The film, "AKA Seoul", is set in Seoul South Korea.
This is the second film exploring identity for filmmaker Dan Mathews, a San Diego State University graduate and Korean adoptee, who first told the story of meeting his birth family in the film, "AKA Dan."
Matthews discusses his new film, "AKA Seoul," Wednesday on Midday Edition.