Side by Side: Europe

Filming in EuropeThe first Korean children adopted to Europe began arriving in the 1960s to countries like Belgium, Denmark, Sweden, The Netherlands, France, and Germany.

In planning a European trip, Glenn again recruited via social media, exchanging lengthy emails with everyone who was interested. He reached out to leaders of the adoptee communities in these countries asking for networking help. The three cities that more than met our expectations were Stockholm, Copenhagen, and Amsterdam. Three new travel experiences for us.

By this point in the project, we had made an important decision to film each interviewee in their native language. In Korea and the U.S., with perhaps one exception, it was really our only option. But when we viewed the Korean interviews next to the English-language interviews we had just finished, it was obvious how important audio would be. Language is an immediate expression of the diaspora. Korean faces speaking many tongues.

It was now May 2014. We had hired local producers in each of the three countries, and they would secure studios and equipment. No interpreters. Sweden was the first stop, and included our longest shoot day with nine interviews. Then Copenhagen and Amsterdam.

As in many European cities, our participants spoke flawless English, a fact that slightly complicated the request to conduct the interview in their native language. When adoptees in Europe get together, online or offline, English is often the common language. They could easily have answered our English questions in English. But they adapted beautifully. Glenn would speak to them in English, they would answer in Swedish, Danish, or Dutch, and then they would tell us what they had just said…in English!

As always, we made many friends. There was no shortage of good company and good food. In each country, we took at least one day to just be tourists. By May 15th, we were back home, hard drives packed with raw footage and ready to tackle post-production.

It’s now August. Foreign language interviews have been translated, and English interviews transcribed. Next up, editing and exhibit design. We’ll keep you posted on our progress.

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