First Person Plural

Genre: Documentary
Ethnicity: Korean American
Themes: Cultural Crossing/Return Visit, Cultural Encounter & Misunderstanding,
Family and Intergenerational Issues, Identity/Representation,
Individual Profiles & Personal Stories
Date: 2000
Running Time: 56 min.
Director: Deann Borshay Liem
Deann Borshay Liem, Vivian Kleiman (Executive Producer)
Availability: Center for Asian American Media
145 Ninth Street, Suite 350
San Francisco, CA 94103-2641
Phone (415) 863-0814
Fax (415) 863-7428
College/Institution: DVD or VHS $265 Purchase/$87 Rental
K-12/Public Library/Community Group: DVD or VHS $150 Purchase/$50 Rental

First Person Plural follows the story of a girl adopted from Korea in 1966 at the age of nine by the Borshays, a family in California.  Upon first arriving from Korea, Cha Jung Hee, renamed by her American family as Deann Borshay, vowed never to forget her home and her culture.  But as she grows up, memories of Korea grow fainter and fainter. Unexpectedly, as an adult, memories of her past begin to return.  When she begins restlessly searching through her adoption papers, nothing appears out of the ordinary – until she examines the two pictures included in her file.  They are indeed of two different girls.  Borshay writes the orphanage and discovers the truth – her real name was Kang Ok Chin, and not Cha Jung Hee, and her birth family is in fact still alive.  The documentary follows Deann Borshay Liem as she takes the courageous step to unite her biological and adoptive families in an attempt to reconcile and bring together the two parts of her life that make up her unique identity as a Korean-American adoptee.

Kim, Ryan. "Two Women Tell Stories of Being Koreans Adopted in U.S. / Author, filmmaker to be honored tonight." San Francisco Chronicle.  December 30, 2000.

LaSalle, Mick. "Getting Personal: Asian American directors use film to explore their own identities." San Francisco Chronicle. March 5, 2000.

Marech, Rona. "Berkeley Filmmaker Unearths a Past She Left in Korea/’Orphan’ adopted by Americans finds her family." San Francisco Crhonicle. December 15, 2000.

Supplementary Materials
First Person Plural, Public Broadcasting System
Includes a history of transracial and international adoption (focusing on adoptions from South Korea and China), timeline, filmmaker’s story and interview, educational guide (geared towards middle and high school students), and discussion forums.
See also:

Asian American Filmography ExEAS