By Yi Chang-ho
One of the topics covered during the interview with In-Soo Radstake, the director of the documentary "Made in Korea: A One-Way Ticket Seoul-Amsterdam?" was his documentary intention. He's ambitious; he talks about wanting to present his documentary at several international film festivals after its world premiere at the Pusan International Film Festival.
His documentary, however, has already been incredibly valuable, he admits.
"At first, I just thought it would be an interesting topic for my first documentary to portray adoptees from the same flight to the Netherlands", he said. "I didn't want to include myself. I didn't have much interest in adoption and Korea".
The documentary turned out to be a catalyst. While making the documentary, his interest in Korea and adoption grew steadily and the focus of the documentary shifted to Radstake learning about adoption in Korea. He began searching for his birthparents. "In every way, the whole process was like a journey", he said. "I found out many things, and I feel like a more complete person".
He also met his girlfriend Ungilal. She was one of the children on the same flight from Korea to the Netherlands. This reporter met the two in Chongno, Seoul, a few days before they were to leave for Pusan. They tell me that they have been to Korea often lately and that they've started to know Seoul and feel comfortable here. Radstake recalls the first time he visited Korea, because of his documentary. "I was curious how it would feel to come back to Korea", he said. "I had heard for some that they felt like coming home. It wasn't like that for me right away".
When Radstake talks about "Made in Korea: A One-Way Ticket Seoul-Amsterdam?" it is clear that it has been a process. "The documentary is about searching for your identity", he said. "Am I Dutch or Korean? In the beginning I was reflecting on this question through interviews with the other people from the same flight".
People were surprised when they were approached for the documentary, but most of them reacted positively. Radstake said: "They shared a lot of the same questions, like hoping to find resemblances in their Korean birthparents and family if they could find them and being curious whether the information in their adoption papers was correct. But there was also fear of finding out information they'd rather wouldn't have found out if they would search for their birthparents".
While they participated in the documentary their interest in the issue grew, and Radstake was no exception. "I think the documentary is interesting to anyone", he said. "It deals with the question: Who am I?"
Of course the documentary is also for adoptees, adoptive parents and aspirant-adoptive parents, but it's not aimed at a specific audience. "It would be nice if anyone can take something from the documentary", he said.
Radstake hopes that the documentary can help give a more positive representation of adoptees. He thinks that it's good to know about yourself, and he started searching for his birthparents, too. He participated in another documentary by the television station KBS, and after the broadcast, his mother contacted him. However, he hasn't met her yet. He's back in Korea, but now he can't reach her when he calls. "I hope to meet her and that she can be present at the premiere at Pusan", he said. "Otherwise, it would be a disappointment".
If he can meet his mother, it would make the world premiere of "Made in Korea: A One-Way Ticket Seoul-Amsterdam?" at the Pusan International Film Festival an even greater success. It is already a personal and professional high. Radstake said he was happy with the interest Pusan has shown for his work. "They selected my documentary as one of the few to feature on these big 3-by-2 meter billboards during Pusan. The poster is a photo of me as a baby from my adoption file", he said, laughing. His documentary took some unexpected turns, and his journey is still taking him further.
More information about "Made in Korea: A One-Way Ticket Seoul-Amsterdam?" including English language information, can be found at Open the link