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First Person Plural

by Deann Borshay Liem

A Korean adoptee bravely unites her biological and adoptive families.

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In 1966, Deann Borshay Liem was adopted by an American family and sent from Korea to her new home in California. There the memory of her birth family was nearly obliterated, until recurring dreams led her to investigate her own past, and she discovered that her Korean mother was very much alive. Bravely uniting her biological and adoptive families, Borshay Liem embarks on a heartfelt journey in this acclaimed film that premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. Nominated for an Emmy for Best Director, First Person Plural is a poignant essay on family, loss and the reconciling of two identities.

quoteSince its debut in 2000, First Personal Plural has become a milestone in documentary film and adoption narratives...I highly recommend it for use in the classroom. It provides an effective introduction to the issues raised by adoption across borders and invariably provokes in-depth discussions around broader issues of transnational migration, gender, kinship, race, and multiculturalism.
Eleana Kim, Ph.D., Department of Anthropology, University of Rochester

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quoteFor the past five years, I have shown Deann Borshay Liem's FIRST PERSON PLURAL in all my undergraduate classes...The film stimulates students' thinking and very lively discussion about a broad range of issues - not only the perennial 'identity' issues that college students often grapple with, but also questions about how global power relations help shape individual lives.
Elaine Kim, Professor, Department of Ethnic Studies, University of California, Berkeley

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quoteThe film is a must for all of the parents, professionals and teens and young adults we work with, not just for those with international adoptions, but also for anyone who has adopted or is adopted or has a child by birth who ended up raised by others.
Joyce Maguire Pavao, Ed.D., LCSW, LMFT, Founder and CEO of Center for Family Connections, Inc., Adoption Resource Center, Pre/Post Adoption Consulting Team, and Family Connections Training Institute.

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quoteFirst Person Plural is not just a film about international adoption; it is a film about the ways in which individuals, families, and nations negotiate notions of identity and belonging.
Richard Lee, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Department of Psychology, University of Minnesota

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quoteWith her unique ability to mix her personal perspective with the larger institutional issues, Deann Borshay Liem has created two films that are important contributions to the exploration of the complexity of transnational and transracial adoption.
Beth Hall, Executive Director, PACT, An Adoption Alliance

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More Reviews


  • Emmy Award Nomination, Outstanding Achievement in the Craft of Directing

  • Grand Jury Prize, Best Documentary, San Francisco International Film Festival

  • Best Documentary, DocAviv

  • Sundance Film Festival, Official Selection, 2000

  • PBS National Broadcast, Point of View (POV), 2000

  • Hot Docs

  • INPUT 2000

  • Hawaii International Film Festival

  • Cinemasia Film Festival Amsteram

  • San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival
  • Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival

  • Boston International Festival of Women's Cinema

  • DocFest New York

  • Rocky Mountain Women's Film Festival
  • Walker Art Center

  • Asian American Psychological Association
  • North American Council on Adoptable Children

  • Korean Adoptee Adoptive Family Network

  • International Gathering of Korean Adoptees

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First Person Plural

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Appropriate for: Middle School High School College/University

Special Features:

TWO DVD SET - There is a 20% discount when purchasing both FIRST PERSON PLURAL and IN THE MATTER OF CHA JUNG HEE together. To receive the discount please enter ‘TWO TITLE DISCOUNT’ in the comments area of the order form.

*discount will not be visible in web order form but will be reflected on the receipt you receive with the films.