Last week Invisible Red Thread co-director/ co-producer Maureen Marovitch was invited to the 2012 Minnesota Transracial Film Festival to show the film. After engaging in spirited Q & A with the audience after the screening, she caught several interesting films about cross-cultural and cross-racial adoption that should move to the top of your must-see list. Here’s a short review of three of them:
Maureen Marovitch, co-director/co-producer of The Invisible Red Thread
Going Home and Finding Seoul: Going Home director Jason Hoffman, and Finding Seoul director John Sanvidge share many interesting similarities. Both 20-something Korean-American directors/ editors grew up in New York State, adopted by loving Caucasian parents. Both glided through their childhood and teens as typical American boys, remarkably disinterested in their Korean heritage. And then in their early twenties, both Hoffman and Sanvidge felt a pull towards their birth country and a need to find their birth mothers. For John, a gregarious spirit part of a family of three adoptees, it starts a search he’s ill prepared to finish, despite the support of his parents and siblings. When he finds roadblocks in Korea, he decides the search process itself may have answered all he needed to know. For Jason, he will be able to meet his mother and birth sister, with his girlfriend and parents along to help on the journey. On some levels, Jason’s film is the more complex one. At 74 minutes in length, it manages to explore more ground, including the reality that some birth parents may not be able or willing to welcome a birth child back into their life. But both are excellent films for parents and adoptees to start discussions about the meaning of identity, and what it means to search for birth parents – both for the adopted child and for the biological parents.
The Struggle for Identity: The Struggle for Identity and its follow-up, Struggle for Identity: A Conversation 10 Years Later, produced by Photosynthesis Productions, delve into tough issues around domestic transracial adoption. Both films are tautly edited discussions with adoptees of colour who were adopted into white American families as babies and toddlers. Many of the adoptees speak about their adoptive parents as well-intentioned and loving, but unprepared for the identity struggles and prejudice the children would face as they grew older. All now young adults, the participants in the film weave an intelligent and multi-faceted discussion that is informative and thought-provoking for any parents considering or in the midst of transracial adoption.
All of these films are available for home or educational/ institutional viewing. Whatever the country of origin for the adoptees featured in the films, their issues and stories transcend colour and national lines to beautifully explore the issues and questions of identity that all adoptees and their families face.