"Father & Son from two different worlds discover their past & culture traveling to China 68 yrs after escaping war, searching to break down what separates them."
Synopsis: I recently had dinner with my birth parents together for the first time. Sitting between them i realized how little time I had left to really know my now 78-year old father Andrew, having grown up with my caucasian mother and barely a word spoken about him until i tracked him down at 18. 26 years later we’ve still never spoken of his childhood in China, escaping war into Korea or his missionary immigration to the US. Only a few years ago did i discover his seven marriages and splintered relationships with his eight brothers and sisters.
Twelve years ago my father and I made a plan to go together and he cancelled at the last minute. We never spoke of it again, but now he is the only one of the family who remembers our home in China. Thirty years ago my grandfather returned to Antung and was accused of being a spy because he received money from the government (social security), so though the world has marched forward, our distant family still lives in the same house there and in much the same way. I’ve never spent more than one night with Andrew, so it is a unique opportunity to actually document these first moments of sharing, of traveling, of healing, of becoming related, and of seeing who we are beyond the pleasantries and vague familial ties. From staying in our ancestral home, learning my father’s technique in stretching noodles by hand from scratch and walking the Great Wall to studying the language and history, we’ll be discovering each other anew and making up for a childhood apart, while Andrew confronts the death of his mother and his youth spent supporting his siblings and the realities of war.
We live in a unique era where the world is more connected and disconnected than ever before, racing forward grasping for the new and the next. With populations exploding and the value of life diminishing in the face of it, what is the importance of one person or one relationship? We cannot move forward powerfully without understanding our past, which begins with our family. We are the architects of our future and the biggest most fulfilling journeys can begin with the simplest of questions that we never seem to ask those who we’ve known all our lives, such as ‘Who are you?”
ABOUT GREAT WALLS
I’m not willing to sit by anymore and never truly know my father, his past and culture. We’ve jumped in the deep end and my father, his wife and I are headed to Asia at the end of the month for a full month of exploring his home town, the new China, his home in Korea, and all his memories and expectations, tracking his journey from pre-communist China to America. I’m bringing my director younger brother from a different father along, with his fiancé, to document/film the trip and create something truly special. It is my intention to observe all the factors that have separated us as father and son, as a family and as a culture, whether it is time, distance, trauma, religion, sexuality, war, language or ideology, all the walls that separate us from feeling related and connected to one another.