Subjects: Race Power and Privilege, Asian Studies, Womens Studies
In Crossings, a group of international women peacemakers sets out on a risky journey across the Demilitarized Zone between North and South Korea, calling for an end to a 70-year war that has divided the Korean peninsula. The groundbreaking mission of Women Cross DMZ is captured in an intimate cinema vérité style, framed with historic newsreels of the Korean War and punctuated with dramatic contemporary news coverage.
Although the Korean War was halted by armistice in 1953, the warring parties never signed a peace treaty. Now 70 years later, the threat of renewed fighting looms as American troops continue to occupy the Korean peninsula, North Korea and the United States remain adversaries, and millions of Koreans are separated from their family members.
From threats of annihilation to promises of peace, the rollercoaster ride of U.S.-North Korea relations provides key moments of drama throughout the story. But the film’s protagonists are thirty women activists who dare to tread forbidden territory to draw global attention to the unresolved war and demand a seat at the table in bringing about peace. Korean American Christine Ahn rallies the group, including feminist pioneer Gloria Steinem and Nobel Peace Laureates Leymah Gbowee and Mairead Maguire.
The intrepid team faces daunting political hurdles as they make their way toward the DMZ. The challenges the women face, the obstacles they overcome, and the solidarity and trust they build as they forge a path to peace with their Korean sisters, is an inspiring story of bridge building and collective action.
Grand Jury Award Nominee at the 2023 Seattle Asian American Film Festival, Winner of the Jason D. Mak Award for Social Justice at the 2023 DisOrient Asian American Film Festival of Oregon, Official Selection at 2021 Hawaii International Film Festival, 2022 San Diego Asian American Film Festival, 2022 45th Asian American International Film Festival and the 2023 CAAMFest
"Crossings is an inspiring film about activism—in which a group of women set out to accomplish a seemingly impossible mission and, despite serious obstacles and setbacks, succeed in making an important statement." — Forbes
“Crossings” serves as a decolonial reader into alterities beyond the US narrative. All in all, “Crossings” follows an altogether simple premise about an extraordinarily complex issue. This allows it to do what documentary does best: to spark conversation. " — Asian Movie Pulse
"In a crucial feminist interrogation of inter-Korean politics and U.S. imperialism, Crossings follows international women activists attempting to cross the 38th parallel, demanding an end to the ongoing Korean War. With incisive style, Deann Borshay Liem … exposes the lingering scars of the so-called Forgotten War and the complexity of the political landscape left in its wake…With rare attention to the intersections of gender and war, Crossings offers not a romantic fairytale but a reckoning with the moral ambiguity of past and present — and dares to look to the future with hope." – BLYTHE SHULAN HUNTER, Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival.
About the filmmaker
Deann Borshay Liem is an Emmy Award-winning documentarian known for films that explore war, memory, family and identity including her landmark adoption films First Person Plural, In the Matter of Cha Jung Hee and Geographies of Kinship. Her work on the Korean War including Memory of Forgotten War, Crossings and the oral history project, Legacies of the Korean War, explores divided families and women’s role in peacemaking. She has served as Executive Producer, Producer, Executive in Charge and consultant on numerous films including The Apology, Mimi & Dona,Seeing Allred,Who Will Write Our History, Dorothea Lange: Grab A Hunk of Lightning, Ishi’s Return,The Eddy Zheng Story, Kelly Loves Tony, AKA Don Bonus and many others. She is the recipient of grants and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, National Endowment for the Arts, California Humanities, Sundance Institute, Rockefeller Foundation and San Francisco Film Society. She is currently serving as Producer for the ITVS-supported film, Vivien's Wild Ride, and is directing a new documentary that looks at the intersections between US military occupation, Korean military brides, and transnational adoption.