Deann Liem Speaker Preview
by Elana Golub on Friday, December 9th, 2011
On Wednesday, December 14th, Korean-born filmmaker Deann Borshay Liem, this year’s Hong Kong Distinguished Speaker, will address the Milton Academy upperclassmen.
The Hong Kong Distinguished Lecture Series was instituted in 1998 to “raise issues of concern in Asia and to help us better understand those issues as well as the cultures, art, and history of Asian countries.”
This year’s speaker offers a particularly intriguing story. Nominated for an Emmy, Deann Borshay Liem has directed, produced, and written multiple films that reflect difficult problems across the globe, such as adoption or expatriation. Deann has received numerous awards from film festivals; her latest film, In the Matter of Cha Jung Hee, won her Best Director and Best Editing at the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival.
According to Ms. WuWong, head of the Milton history department and faculty advisor of Asian Society, “The experience of Korean adoptees has been quite different from the experience of Chinese adoptees.” She believes that this speaker would be of interest to students and faculty alike “since our student population of Asian adoptees has been growing over the past several years.”
The Matter of Cha Jung Hee is an autobiographical film that outlines Deann’s struggle to discover her true identity. At the young age of eight, Ms. Borshay Liem was forced to lie to her new American family about her real name so that she could be adopted. Living most of her life as “Cha Jung Hee,” Liem felt as if she was always hiding behind the character of her “double,” whose place she took in America. Now, a nearly fifty-year-old Liem returns to her home country in the search of the real Cha Jung Hee.
This speaker series is not only a generous gift to the Milton community, but also a demonstration of the solid relationship that Milton Academy holds with its Hong Kong-born graduates. “These alumni felt it was important that they demonstrate their gratitude for their Milton experience and help Milton educate its community about Asia and Asian issues,” says Ms. WuWong.
She adds, “I would hope that this speakers series serves as a model for other alumni associations.”
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