Deann Borshay Liem has over twenty years experience working in development, production and distribution of independent documentaries. In addition to the new film, Geographies of Kinship, she is Producer, Director, and Writer of the Emmy Award- nominated documentary, First Person Plural and the award-winning films, In the Matter of Cha Jung Hee and Memory of Forgotten War.
Deann served as Executive Producer for Kelly Loves Tony, AKA Don Bonus, On Coal River, Ishi’s Return, and Breathin’: The Eddy Zheng Story. She also served as Co-Producer for Special Circumstances and Burqa Boxers and as Story Editor for the Peabody-winning film, The Apology. She is the former director of the Center for Asian American Media where she supervised development, distribution and broadcast of new films for public television. A former Sundance Institute Fellow and recipient of a Rockefeller Film/Video Fellowship, Deann is the 2018 recipient of the Women, Peace and Security Fellowship from the San Francisco Film Society for her work-in-progress film about women peacemakers, Crossings.
Films by Deann Borshay Liem
In this powerful tale about the rise of Korea’s global adoption program, four adult adoptees return to their country of birth and recover the personal histories that were erased when they were adopted. Raised in foreign families, each sets out on a journey to reconnect with their roots, mapping the geographies of kinship that bind them to a homeland they never knew. Along the way there are discoveries and dead ends, as well as mysteries that will never be unraveled.
First Person Plural follows the story of an 8-year old girl who is adopted by an American family, only to discover years later that she has a birth family in Korea. The film explores themes of race, identity, assimilation, and birth family reunion.
Her passport said she was Cha Jung Hee. She knew she was not. So began a 40-year deception for a Korean adoptee who came to the US in 1966. Told to keep her true identity a secret from her new American family, this eight-year-old girl quickly forgot she was ever anyone else. But why had her identity been switched? And who was the real Cha Jung Hee? In the Matter of Cha Jung Hee is the search to find the answers.