Director: Sun Hee Engelstoft

What makes a mother give away her baby? This is the big question in Sun Hee Engelstoft’s poignant heartbreaker of a film about three Korean women who have become pregnant outside of marriage and are now hiding from the outside world until they give birth. They live in a shelter for unwed mothers on a South Korean island, where beautiful landscapes are in sharp contrast to the fierce dilemma that women go through: should they keep their children or give them up for adoption? Engelstoft has been given unique access to this particular shelter run by the strong-willed Mrs. Im, who fights for the girls’ independence but is up against a social structure and family tradition that leaves women in an impossible situation. Engelstoft’s sensitive portrait brings us close to a forbidden world and through her own experience as a Korean adoptee, she gives a deeply personal and extraordinary insight into a culture in which women can’t choose their own fate.


Mother, My Mother, directed by Sang-mi Park in 2014, is a feature-length documentary film about the pain and healing process of adoptees and unwed mothers as a professor of liberal arts education at Korean National Police University, director of The Empathy Mind School(더공감마음학교), a best-selling author, and a popular lecturer at Sebasi. You can also see the former president Gyeong-hwa Mok, who passed away in 2019, and Shannon Heit (Doona Jeong), who volunteered a lot for the association.


A Letter for Sang-Ah
 is a hybrid investigative and vérite documentary that immerses audiences in the emotional complexities of Korean culture, family expectations, and adoption practices. The film follows three characters, each who provide a unique and illuminating perspective on single parenting and adoption in Korean culture. A Letter for Sang-Ah expands the prevailing adoptee-centered narrative to include the seldom heard stories of the birth mothers themselves. It artfully weaves concepts of motherhood, country, identity, and loss to paint a larger broader picture of adoption and its effects on society.