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Screening of “Crossings” (2021) plus Q&A with director Deann Borshay Liem


Deann Borshay Liem (documentarian); Suzy Kim (Rutgers University)

Join us for a screening of "Crossings" (2021), followed by Q&A with director Deann Borshay Liem and comments by Prof. Suzy Kim (Rutgers). The conversation will be moderated by Prof. Aimee Kwon (Duke).

About the film

In Crossings, a group of international women peacemakers sets out on a risky journey across the Demilitarized Zone between North and South Korea, calling for an end to a 70-year war that has divided the Korean peninsula. The groundbreaking mission of Women Cross DMZ is captured in an intimate cinema vérité style, framed with historic newsreels of the Korean War and punctuated with dramatic contemporary news coverage.

Although the Korean War was halted by armistice in 1953, the warring parties never signed a peace treaty. Now 70 years later, the threat of renewed fighting looms as American troops continue to occupy the Korean peninsula, North Korea and the United States remain adversaries, and millions of Koreans are separated from their family members.

From threats of annihilation to promises of peace, the rollercoaster ride of U.S.-North Korea relations provides key moments of drama throughout the story. But the film’s protagonists are thirty women activists who dare to tread forbidden territory to draw global attention to the unresolved war and demand a seat at the table in bringing about peace. Korean American Christine Ahn rallies the group, including feminist pioneer Gloria Steinem and Nobel Peace Laureates Leymah Gbowee and Mairead Maguire.

The intrepid team faces daunting political hurdles as they make their way toward the DMZ. The challenges the women face, the obstacles they overcome, and the solidarity and trust they build as they forge a path to peace with their Korean sisters, is an inspiring story of bridge building and collective action.

About the speakers

Deann Borshay Liem is an Emmy Award-winning documentarian known for films that explore war, memory, family and identity including her landmark adoption films First Person Plural, In the Matter of Cha Jung Hee, and Geographies of Kinship. Her work on the Korean War, including Memory of Forgotten War, Crossings, and the oral history project Legacies of the Korean War, explores divided families and women's role in peacemaking. She has served as Executive Producer, Producer, Executive in Charge and consultant on numerous films including The Apology, Mimi & Dona, Seeing Allred, Who Will Write Our History, Dorothea Lange: Grab A Hunk of Lightning, Ishi’s Return, The Eddy Zheng Story, Kelly Loves Tony, AKA Don Bonus and many others. She is the recipient of grants and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, National Endowment for the Arts, California Humanities, Sundance Institute, Rockefeller Foundation and San Francisco Film Society. She is currently serving as Producer for the ITVS-supported film, Vivien’s Wild Ride, and is directing a new documentary that looks at the intersections between US military occupation, Korean military brides, and transnational adoption.

Professor Suzy Kim is a historian and author of the prize-winning Everyday Life in the North Korean Revolution, 1945-1950 (Cornell 2013). Her work has appeared in positions: asia critiqueAsia-Pacific JournalCross-CurrentsComparative Studies in Society and History, Gender & History, and the Journal of Korean Studies. Her latest book, Among Women across Worlds: North Korea in the Global Cold War (Cornell 2023), was completed with the support of the Fulbright Program and the National Endowment for the Humanities. She is senior editor of positions: asia critique, and serves on the editorial boards of Journal of Korean Studies and Yŏsŏng kwa yŏksa [Women and History], the journal of the Korean Association of Women’s History. As a public scholar, she has advocated for social justice and peace in Korea with Amnesty International USA, Truth Foundation, and Women Cross DMZ.

Event is co-sponsored by the Critical Asian Humanities program (AMES) and the Asian American and Diaspora Studies program