Tag Archives: Asian American

harvard

Asian American Groups Take Aim at Harvard’s Allegedly Biased Admissions Process (Continued)

This is the second part to “Asian American Groups Take Aim at Harvard’s Allegedly Biased Admissions Process.” To read the first half of the article, click here

by COURTNEY LEE
courtney@iamkoream.com

These statistics can be attributed to discrimination by Harvard and other Ivy League universities in the form of racial stereotypes, prejudices and quotas, the coalition argues. On the subject of affirmative action, the group notes that it supports economic-based, not race-based, affirmative action to help applicants from disadvantaged backgrounds.

“When affirmative action in college admissions was implemented, unfortunately, Asian Americans became victims again,” the coalition argues. “Asian Americans do not deserve to become the largest victim of racially based college admissions.”

Yukong Zhao, a coalition representative, said that the issue was not solely pertinent to Asian Americans.

“People from all over the world came to America for equal opportunities. We are trying to bring those principles back to America,” Zhao told CNN. “This isn’t just about discrimination and race. It is about justice for everyone, including (people of) all races, and social and economic statuses.”

Richard Sander, a professor at UCLA School of Law who is serving as legal advisor to the coalition, told KPCC’s AirTalk that Asian Americans shouldn’t be lumped into one group.

“It’s certainly valid for Harvard to seek diversity but Asian Americans are an incredibly diverse group within themselves, and treating all those groups as defined by skin color or racial identification really takes the valuable aspect of diversity in a very bad direction,” he said.

While Michael Yaki and Karen Narasaki of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights also oppose racial quotas, they said in a statement that they “hope that this is a sincerely raised issue and not a back door attack on affirmative action that attempts to pit Asian Americans against other minorities, as other efforts have been.”

In an op-ed for the Washington Post in January, author and education professor Julie J. Park, referencing a similar complaint brought against Harvard by Students for Fair Admissions last year, wrote that such lawsuits can be “deeply misleading.” Park, a Korean-American who herself was rejected by Harvard, said that even well-rounded students with top grades and a strong extracurricular record are bound to be declined admission.

“We live in a time when thousands of students who score well on standardized tests will not be admitted into their top-choice institution, though most will likely gain entry to some quality institution,” Park wrote. “What we have is not discrimination but elite schools being limited in the number of outstanding students they can admit.”

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harvard

Asian American Groups Take Aim at Harvard’s Allegedly Biased Admissions Process

by COURTNEY LEE
courtney@iamkoream.com

A coalition of 64 Asian American associations filed a complaint Friday against Harvard University, alleging that the school discriminates against Asian American students by setting a higher bar in its admissions process than for other groups.

The coalition, which includes Chinese, Korean, Indian and Pakistani American associations nationwide, accuses Harvard of unlawfully rejecting Asian American applicants based on race despite their “almost perfect SAT scores,” “top 1% GPAs” and extracurricular activities. Citing numerous publications and evidence gathered from a similar lawsuit last November, the group claims that the university is just one of several elite institutions that systematically discriminates against Asian American students.

The complaint was filed with the U.S. Department of Education and U.S Department of Justice, and requests an investigation.

In a statement, Harvard General Counsel Robert Iuliano defended the university’s use of race as part of a “holistic admissions process” that attempts to “build a diverse class.”

“We will vigorously defend the right of Harvard, and other universities, to continue to seek the educational benefits that come from a class that is diverse on multiple dimensions,” he said.

Iuliano added that Harvard “has demonstrated a strong record of recruiting and admitting Asian American students,” citing an increase in admitted Asian American students from 17.6 percent to 21 percent over the past decade.

Although the DOE’s Office of Civil Rights found that legacy preference, not racial bias, put Asian American applicants at a disadvantage during a 1990 investigation—and determined as recently as last year that the university was compliant with federal law in its admissions process—the coalition is pressing the issue again in light of “overwhelming new evidence” and studies.

One of the findings detailed in the 50-page complaint is a 2009 study by sociologists Thomas Espenshade and Alexandria Radford, which determined that Asian Americans needed SAT scores that were 140 points higher than their Caucasian counterparts to get into elite schools. Furthermore, the analysis showed that Asians have the lowest admission rate among whites, blacks and Hispanics in the same SAT score bracket; it is estimated that Asians have a 67 percent lower chance of admissions than white applicants with similar test scores.

The complaint also refers to a 2012 article by Ron Unz, which noted that the largely constant number of Asian students at elite colleges post-1993 fails to match the fast pace at which the Asian American population in the U.S. is growing. The Unz study found that the Asian American community is the fastest-growing segment of any American racial group, almost doubling within the last decade, while “Asian American academic achievement trends were rising at an impressive pace,” according to the complaint.

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Reaching 50 Years, East West Players Soldiers On

Pictured above: Tim Dang, producing artistic director of East West Players. (Photo courtesy of M. Palma Photography)

by ADA TSENG

Tucked inside the Union Center for the Arts in Los Angeles’ Little Tokyo District sits the David Henry Hwang Theater, home to East West Players, the country’s first Asian American theatre organization that is celebrating a milestone 50th year.

A lot of history has been made at East West Players, as the framed posters lining the wall by the theater’s interior staircase illustrate. There’s one of Hwang’s 1988 Tony Award-winning M. Butterfly, revived in 2004; a 2000 production of My Tired Broke Ass Pontificating Slapstick Funk starring John Cho; and actor George Takei in a 2005 production of Equus.

Those who grew up with East West Players know that the posters only tell part of the story.

Decades before the theater would be named after him, Hwang spent much of his childhood hanging around rehearsals, since his father did the company’s accounting and his pianist mother provided musical accompaniment. Takei’s portrayal of a tortured psychiatrist in Equus partly inspired his decision to come out publicly as gay. And Cho’s onstage love interest in My Tired Broke Ass Pontificating Slapstick Funk, an “anti-romantic” comedy by Korean American playwright Euijoon Kim, was played by none other than Cho’s future wife, actress Kerri Higuchi.

The esteemed company has always been more than just a showcase for art and emerging talent—it’s created 50 years of community.

Cul-Stage-AM15-EWP1East West players’ very first production, Rashomon. 

Nearly 15 years ago, “you really couldn’t be an Asian American actor without having something to do with East West Players,” remembers Stefanie Wong Lau, the company’s former marketing director who went on to co-found Artists at Play, an independent Asian American theatre company. “I can’t count how many times [Asian Americans] would contact us and say, ‘I just moved here, and I was told I need to come by and meet people.’”

Consider that more than 75 percent of Asian American and Pacific Islanders in acting unions in Los Angeles had worked at East West Players, according to a 2006 interview Tim Dang, the company’s current producing artistic director, gave the Los Angeles Times.

Indeed, its alumni consists of a notable roster of Asian Americans, including many Korean Americans, such as Daniel Dae Kim, James Kyson, Ki Hong Lee, Jacqueline Kim and C.S. Lee, who recently returned to the stage to perform Animals Out of Paper, Pulitzer Prize-finalist Rajiv Joseph’s play about a world-renowned origami artist.

Today, East West Players has the distinction of being the longest-running professional theater of color in the U.S. Back in 1965, a group of nine Asian American artists, frustrated with the lack of non-stereotypical roles for Asian Americans in Hollywood and influenced by the American Civil Rights movement, formed the troupe, holding rehearsals in the Bethany Presbyterian Church in L.A.’s Silver Lake district. There were few Asian American playwrights at the time, so the company staged European and Japanese works (its very first production was Ryunosuke Akutagawa’s Rashomon, the source material for the award-winning 1950 Akira Kurosawa film).

Cul-Stage-AM15-EWP2John Cho, center, in Ikebana.

It wasn’t until the 1970s—the company had moved into a 99-seat black box theater in Hollywood by then—that developing original works by Asian American playwrights became a tangible goal. Korean American founding member Soon-Tek Oh penned the first original productions, including Martyrs Can’t Go Home, a play about the Korean War.

In 1998, East West Players moved into the 240-seat mid-sized equity house where it is based today. It boasts an average 10,000 audience visits per year and annually produces a full season of original Asian American works, as well as re-stagings of plays and musicals. Its 50th anniversary season, currently underway, included the world premiere of intercultural comedy Washer/Dryer and The Who’s Tommy, a classic rock musical based on The Who’s 1969 double album rock opera which opens May 7.

Many veterans of East West Players have gone on to form niche production companies, including Cold Tofu, a comedy improv and sketch group; here-and-now theatre company; Lodestone Theatre Ensemble, which spun out of Oh’s Society of Heritage Performers, a Korean American ensemble that staged provocative works dealing with themes of sex, drugs, violence and religion; and Artists at Play. Since 2011, the latter has specialized in bringing to Los Angeles Asian American plays that have already found success around the nation.

East West Players’ reputation as the premier Asian American theater in the country is built on a long legacy, and one of its challenges has been persuading the broader theater community to let go of the boundaries separating “ethnic” theater from “mainstream American” theater.

Though crossover productions exist, including Allegiance, a musical starring Takei about Japanese Americans in U.S. internment camps set to open on Broadway later this year, Dang feels there is still a long way to go before mainstream theater begins to truly reflect the experience of people of color—who, by 2042, are expected to outnumber non-Hispanic whites. Dang recently launched a diversity initiative called “The 51% Preparedness Plan,” which challenges mainstream theaters to diversify their personnel to include 51 percent women, youth or minorities over the next five years.

Cul-Stage-AM15-EWP3Daniel Dae Kim in Golden Child.

“I think TV and film are getting the message really quickly and starting to have a lot more people of color onscreen,” Dang says. “They’re realizing this is the way they need to do business now. But theater is behind the curve.”

Another challenge to the established theater group is the fact that young Asian American talent, plus their audiences, is increasingly flocking to the digital medium.

Over the last several years, many theaters whose mission was to promote Asian American artists and storytellers have either scaled back operations or shut down completely. Thus, for a company that created the Asian American theater scene five decades ago and continues to lead it, seeking new ways to stay relevant and attract new audience members is a priority.

For example, while the leads in Washer/Dryer were Indian American and Chinese American, the supporting roles included a Caucasian neighbor and a gay African American best friend. In its casting call for The Who’s Tommy, East West Players sought out Latinos, Middle Eastern Americans and Native Americans.

“We need to practice what we preach,” Dang says. “And that means we have to open up and be more inclusive. There will still be an emphasis on Asian Americans, but Asian Americans don’t live in a vacuum.

“I’m on the tail end of the Baby Boomer generation, so it was a big thing to be proud to be Asian because we were so invisible,” Dang adds. “But if you talk to the younger generation, the thinking is different. They are individuals of many intersections. And I’m happy to see that we’ve progressed in a way that Asian Americans are comfortable being part of the [greater American] community.”

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All production stills courtesy of East West Players

This article was published in the April/May 2015 issue of KoreAm. Subscribe today! To purchase a single issue copy of the April/May issue, click the “Buy Now” button below. (U.S. customers only. Expect delivery in 5-7 business days).

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[VIDEO] San Francisco Meets Los Angeles: A Conversation with Chefs Corey Lee and Roy Choi

by JAMES S. KIM | @james_s_kim
jamesskim@iamkoream.com

Reputations have a habit of preceding, and it was no different when it came to two of the most established chefs on the West Coast.

“You’re not as intense as I imagined,” Roy Choi quipped to Corey Lee in front of an enthusiastic group of foodies and fans in Santa Monica in late April. “You’re a very calm and nice guy, actually. I was scared, I was ready to say, ‘Oui, Chef.’”

“That’s what I heard about you,” Lee retorted. “‘He’s a gangster.’”

On April 22, the two Korean American chefs met face-to-face for the first time for a chat in Santa Monica, Calif. as Lee kicked off his tour to promote his new cookbook, Benu (published by Phaidon), which is named after his three-Michelin-star restaurant in San Francisco. The recipes are presented as a 33-course tasting menu, and Lee includes several personal anecdotes that reveal the influences behind Benu’s signature dishes.

At first glance, the chefs come across as two distinct players in the business: Choi, a visionary chef who reps L.A. hard and is responsible for single-handedly changing how the world looks at food trucks; Lee, who is renowned worldwide for his culinary skills and knowledge of French, Chinese and Korean cuisines that play out into the unique offering at Benu.

But while their products may seem like they belong to different spheres in the culinary world, Lee and Choi explained there are more similarities to their food—especially when it comes down to how their respective upbringings and backgrounds play out in the dishes.

corey-lee-by-eric-wolfinger-01Corey Lee. Photo by Eric Wolfinger

“I’m not sure if Roy’s food is worlds apart from ours [at Benu],” Lee said in response to a question from an audience member. “I think from a consumer’s perspective, it might be. But from a chef’s perspective, from an entrepreneur’s perspective, I think there are a lot of parallels, and the more I talk to Roy, I realize that.”

“I had an upbringing that doesn’t seem like it would foster a chef’s career,” Lee added. “But I think that for those of us who were born in another country and came over to the U.S., this process of trying to recreate the food culture of our native country here in the U.S. is a very big part of our lives.”

Food writers haven’t found a specific brand to describe Lee’s food at Benu. Some have summarized it as Asian and French fusion or having Asian “influences.” Lee doesn’t subscribe to a certain brand—though he did write a book trying to explain it. At the same time, Lee admits he didn’t intend the cookbook to be as personal as it eventually became.

“When you go to explain your motivations for a dish, or the reasons why you think it’s worth documenting, that’s the kind of journey I thought was really educational for me in writing the book,” Lee explained. “Getting a better understanding of why these dishes were important to me, or where they came from, how they were conceived, and how that relates to my upbringing—a lot of it is tied to Korean food, Korean culture and Korean traditions.”

Be sure to check out our video of the highlights from Lee and Choi’s conversation as the chefs discuss their respective backgrounds, philosophies and influences in their careers—as well as their favorite Korean dishes.

Lee will be in Asia during the month of May, stopping by Hong Kong and Seoul before hitting the final leg of his tour in Toronto. On May 27, Lee will close his tour in Toronto with a conversation featuring Momofuku’s chef and founder, David Chang, who also wrote a foreword in the Benu cookbook.

Below are a few images and excerpts from Lee’s Benu cookbook, which is available on Amazon through publisher Phaidon.

BENU book shot

Thousand year old quail eggThe thousand-year-old quail egg, the first course on the menu. Pidan, as it is known, is usually made with duck eggs, but Lee went with quail eggs for the smaller size and a “whimsical variation” from tradition.

“How pidan was conceived and developed is one of the great mysteries and triumphs so often found in Chinese cuisine,” Lee writes. “And its enjoyment can be a great reward for the adventurous and open-minded eater.”

Beggar's PurseThe beggar’s purse of treasures from the oak is composed of acorn, Iberico ham and black truffle. These are innately connected, Lee says: “It’s such an obvious and natural combination of flavors, but one that’s a product of being Korean, living in northern California, and working in European kitchens.”

Kimchi PotsLee didn’t have the fondest memories of growing up with kimchi, and it took him years to reconnect with it. But things have come “full circle” for him, as Benu now makes and serves their own kimchi.

“The most well-known variety, baechu kimchi … is what we make at Benu. The flavor profile is based on my mother’s–refreshing, loaded with daikon and green onion, firm in texture, not too sweet or spicy, and just a hint of seafood.”

San FranciscoA view of San Francisco from the Marin headlands. “Benu is very much a restaurant that’s influenced by different cultures,” Lee writes. “The cooking at Benu often explores how Asian flavors, ideas and aesthetics can harmonize with Western ones.”

Benu 4Lee at a specialty barbecue restaurant in South Korea.

Benu 3The haenyeo, or “sea women,” of Jeju Island in South Korea. During his visit, Lee and his team had the chance to meet them and photograph the haenyeo as they went about their daily free-dives.

“They are the living emblems of Korean cultural heritage and embody the resilience of its people, and, in particular, the strength and self-sacrifice of its women,” Lee writes. “And for me, their unwavering spirit is much more beautiful and palpable that can be imagined through any folklore.”

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All images from Benu by Eric Wolfinger

dave young kim apa heritage award

Artist Dave Young Kim Wins 2015 Asian Pacific American Heritage Award

by REERA YOO | @reeraboo
reera@iamkoream.com

Earlier this month, the Asian Pacific American (APA) Heritage Foundation named fine artist and muralist Dave Young Kim one of the three winners of the 2015 Asian Pacific American Heritage Award.

This prestigious award is given annually to creatives who have made a significant impact in their field and community. Previous award recipients include the first native-born Asian American female journalist Jan Yanehiro and award-winning writer Elaine H. Kim.

This year, the San Francisco Bay Area awarded the title to Kim, alongside fashion designer Crisanta Malig and origami artist Linda Tomoko Mihara.

Born in Los Angeles, Kim received his MFA from Mills College in 2014, where he worked closely with renowned painter Hung Lui. He specializes in spray painted works, many of which depict the rich and complex history of Korea. One of Kim’s most notable artworks is a 130-feet mural in Oakland that features celebrated, Korean independence activist Yu Gwan-san, a distant relative of Kim’s. His murals can be found all around the world, from U.S. cities to South Korea, Norway and Mexico.

ohganeA mural of student activist Yu Gwan-san on 40th and Broadway in Oakland. (Photo via Dave Young Kim’s website

Over the years, Kim has dedicated his artistic talents to his community by collaborating with various nonprofit organizations, such as World Impact and Attitudinal Healing Connection.

On May 4, the APA Heritage Awards kicked off its annual celebration at San Francisco City Hall with performances by local Asian American musicians and traditional dancers of different Asian backgrounds. Several local restaurants also served a wide spread of Asian cuisine for the reception.

After being presented with a lei and trophy, Kim said in his speech, “This recognition compels me to continue working towards enhancing Asian American awareness and to use my gifts to better the world around me.”

Kim is currently working on a documentary called Interlaced that explores the complexities of living as a Korean American and the struggle of embracing one’s cultural roots.

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[VIDEO] CAPE’s 2015 #IAM Campaign Features Korean American Role Models

by REERA YOO | @reeraboo
reera@iamkoream.com

To celebrate this year’s Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, CAPE (Coalition of Asian Pacifics in Entertainment) has launched its 2015 #IAM Campaign to put a spotlight on Asian American talents and leaders in media, entertainment and food.

This is the second year CAPE is running its #IAM Campaign. Last year, the organization teamed up with Verizon for the first time ever and created a comedy web series and mini-documentary series featuring eighteen Asian American artists and personalties, including Steven Yeun, David Choi, Randall Park, Jessica Gomes, Lisa Ling, Brian Tee, Leonardo Nam and Bobby Lee.

Among the role models featured in this year’s campaign, there were several Korean American talents: Daniel Dae Kim, Ki Hong Lee, Arden Cho and Seoul Sausage Co. In the videos below, these four representatives share their success stories and the lessons they’ve learned in their journeys.

#IAM Ki Hong Lee

“The only way to change [Asian American perception] faster or to launch a new wave of how people see Asians is to create our own content, to create our own stories, and make opportunities for ourselves as actors and as entertainers,” says Ki Hong Lee. “I think the only way to change anything is to just take it and change it yourself.”

#IAM Arden Cho

“Don’t be afraid to fail because failure adds character and color and it’s those imperfections, flaws, and mistakes that you make along the way that add to a great story,” says Arden Cho.

#IAM Daniel Dae Kim

“In this career as an actor, regardless of your race, there are so many variables that are beyond your control,” says Daniel Dae Kim. “What you can control is your level of talent, your work ethic. Be excellent at what you do. That way, if you’re good and the opportunity train rolls by, you’ll be able to hop on.”

#IAM Seoul Sausage Co. 

“If you just start thinking ‘I am…,’ that’s the first step in figuring out what you want to be, what motivates you, what excites you, and who you’re going to become in the future. I think that’s very powerful,” says Ted Kim of Seoul Sausage.


 

You can watch the rest of the #IAM Campaign representatives (Constance Wu, Jason Chen and Cassey Ho) on the campaign’s official website.

Join the conversation and share your #IAm story via Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.  To learn more about CAPE, check out their website or YouTube channel.  

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Featured image via CAPE

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FORREST WHEELER, IAN CHEN, HUDSON YANG, CONSTANCE WU, RANDALL PARK

Top 10 Life Lessons from ‘Fresh Off the Boat’

by ARIANNA CARAMAT

Even though it’s only been about a week since Fresh Off the Boats season one finale, we’re already missing it. For once my family had a ritual every Tuesday. My parents were no longer watching celebrities ballroom dance, my sisters weren’t SnapChatting the evening away, and I wasn’t tucked away with my laptop watching Netflix. We were all actually excited for our weekly family time watching the Huangs (dare I say it?) together.

But now our Tuesday nights gathered around the TV will have to be put on hold as we eagerly wait and see if Fresh Off the Boat will continue with a second season. In the meantime, we reflect back on the season and look at important life lessons taught by none other than our most favorite tv mom, Jessica Huang.

Being the rock of the family, Jessica seems to know exactly what to say and proves “mother knows best.” She manages to handle any situation like the financially savvy, brutally honest, real estate pimp she is. From defining self-worth to negotiating, Jessica has left us with these priceless life lessons:

1. The meaning of “free”

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2. The importance of street safety

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3. The meaning of friendship

the meaning of friendship

4. How to humblebrag

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5. The art of negotiation

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6. Defining your self-worth

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7. The truth about the Birds and the Bees

tumblr_njstkuQgFj1rysa8wo1_250  tumblr_njstkuQgFj1rysa8wo2_250

8. All is fair in loss and poker

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9. RESPECT for women

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10. How to handle a racist situation like a BOSS

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If you want ABC to produce a second season of Fresh Off the Boat, make sure to tweet with the hashtag #RenewFOTB.

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Featured image courtesy of ABC/Bob D’Amico. Originally published on Audrey Magazine

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Exclusive Interviews with the Director and Cast of ‘Seoul Searching’

 

Director: Benson Lee

 

KoreAm’s February/March Cover Story: Benson Lee Goes Seoul Searching With Latest Indie Feature

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Cast

 

Here are some exclusive interviews with the cast of Seoul Searching

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Justin Chon as Sid Park, a punk who has problems with authority. He doesn’t want to be in Korea that summer, and his perpetual scowl shows it. But while Sid’s clothes and sneer signal “tough guy,” they serve to cover up his own insecurities and yearning for his father’s acceptance back home.

“As a Korean American, you really had to have a definitive identity. Otherwise, you kind of get lost from the pack. There was more of an innocence in the ’80s among second-generation Koreans,” Justin Chon tells KoreAm

 

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Jessika Van as Grace Park, whose provocative style of dress and come-hither look draw every guy’s attention, and she doesn’t hold back when it comes to toying with their emotions. The teenage boys at the Seoul summer camp—in particular, Sid—don’t stand a chance against Grace, who channels an ’80s Madonna at the height of her sexual prowess.

“When I read the script, I could really relate to Grace because I feel like I grew up maybe not dissimilar to other Asian girls in America, or even in Asia. There’s a lot going on underneath that we feel we need to cover to stay safe, because we’ve grown up in families where showing pain or vulnerability or showing weakness isn’t thought of as a good quality,” says Jessika Van. 

 

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Esteban Ahn a.k.a SanchoBeatz, as Sergio Kim, a fun-loving party-boy from Mexico, who attends summer camp for the beautiful girls and booze, and he does his best to get his roommates—the sour-faced Sid and the solemn Klaus—to follow along on his adventures.

“Even though I’m Korean, in Korea, people treat me like a foreigner, and in Spain, they also treat me like a foreigner. I don’t have a proper identity. Those kinds of themes really touched me a lot in the movie because as you can see in the movie, we are all Koreans. We come to Korea, and we are like foreigners,” Estaban Ahn tells KoreAm. 

 

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Teo Yoo as Klaus Kim, a Korean German who arrives at camp with other things on his mindnamely his girlfriend back in Germany and future career. His parents own a small business back home and want their son to take it over, but he has his sights on bigger dreams.

“All of the characters have their unique struggles. They are kind of symbolic for situations that I have been through in my life—not to that extreme extent, but certain situations that gyopos can relate to, especially [those concerning] father issues, simply because of the generational changes and the diversity of the next generation,” Teo Yoo says. 

 

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Byul Kang as Sue-Jin Kim, one of the toughest students at camp–she’s not afraid to talk back or throw a kick at any guy who messes with her.

“She brought a whole new dynamic to the female cast,” Benson Lee says of actress Byul Kang. 

 

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Albert Kong as Mike Lee, the surly, mean, bullying, racist military student.

“Time period-wise, it’s set in the ’80s, but it’s a high school class. I think everyone remembers, especially in high school, college and even as a young adult, trying to find that sense of who you areyour place in the world. I think that’s what resonated with me the most because you see all the insecurity,” says Albert Kong. 

 

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Rosalina Leigh as Kris Schultz, an adoptee who comes to the summer camp with a larger purpose than to just learn about Korean culture.

“She had never acted before in her life,” Benson Lee tells KoreAm. “But she just had an inkling for acting. When I saw her audition tape, I was blown away. She was as good in the audition as she is in the movie. I was like, wow, this girl’s a natural actor.”

 

Cha In-Pyo Headshot

Cha In-Pyo as the no-nonsense Mr. Kim, the head counselor of the summer camp.

“When I went to college in New Jersey, which was about 25 years ago, I had Korean American friends who had the same problems as the characters have in the movie. Seeing them not being able to communicate with their parents, I remember I felt compassion for my friends,” Cha In-pyo tells KoreAm

 

News & Reviews

Los Angeles Film Festival to Hold Gala Screening for Seoul Searching

REVIEW: Justin Chang, Variety
“A unique portrait of the Korean immigrant experience distinguishes writer-director Benson Lee’s messy but endearing ’80s-set comedy.”

REVIEW: Justin Lowe, The Hollywood Reporter
“Powered by an instantly recognizable, dance-happy soundtrack and a charismatic cast turned out in memorable period costuming, Lee’s most accessible film yet looks poised to capitalize on enduring 80s nostalgia and a refreshingly appealing premise that could see the film crossing over from niche bookings to much broader appeal.”

Wired interviews the director and cast of Seoul Searching
“I have a large ensemble cast and there’s not too many Asian-American actors out there compared to other groups,” Benson Lee tells Wired. “I decided I could probably open up my choices if I did it online. So I thought of the most popular online platform, which is Facebook.”

REVIEW: Josh Terry, Deseret News
The Sundance press guide paints ‘Seoul Searching’ as a loving tribute to ’80s pop culture and the films of John Hughes, and that affection is obvious. But the final product is far too flawed to do its inspiration justice.”

REVIEW: William Bibbiani, Crave Online
“Benson Lee’s Korean homage to John Hughes movies is ‘the sort of film we come to Sundance to discover.”

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