The Demilitarized Zone separating South and North Korea is the Cold War’s last remaining barrier. It is also a potent symbol of the Korean War, halted by armistice, not a peace treaty. For nearly 70 years, politicians have failed to reach consensus about this division, stoking tension and fear of renewed fighting, while continuing to separate millions of family members. In 2015, a group of women finally had enough. That May, Korean American activist Christine Ahn brought thirty women, including Nobel Peace Laureates Leymah Gbowee and Mairead Maguire plus feminist pioneer Gloria Steinem, to Pyongyang to discuss peace. They joined thousands of North Korean women on a peace walk, then crossed the DMZ to meet with South Korean women activists.
This unprecedented border crossing, the complex, politically sensitive effort required to accomplish it, and the women’s profound and frank encounters along the way, becomes a dramatic entry point and continuing thread in CROSSINGS, the latest film from the award winning Deann Borshay Liem (FIRST PERSON PLURAL,GEOGRAPHIES OF KINSHIP). The film tells the surprising story of women’s commitment to peacefully resolve the on-going Korean crisis. As the film reveals, South and North Korean women have been quietly meeting for years to discuss achieving peace and reconciliation, if not reunification.
This film is presented as part of the Film For Thought program in partnership with the Hawai‘i Council for the Humanities. As a part of this program, HIFF will be presenting a LIVE virtual discussion during the Festival with director Deann Liem and subjects from the film, and a companion essay written by a local scholar will be available to read online. Stay tuned to the HIFF TALKS page for details.
Mahalo to community supporters for this event: Center for Korean Studies at UH, Spark M. Matsunaga Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution, Women’s Voices, Women’s Speak, Hawai’i Peace and Justice, Vets for Peace Hawai’i Chapter, and Women Cross DMZ/Korea Peace Now!