Activities and venues are subject to changes, so please continue to check the website or like our Facebook Event page regularly for the most up-to-date information.

All activities listed below are INCLUDED with your IKAA Gathering 2019 Registration!

Lotte Hotel, Emerald Ballroom, 2nd Floor

Side by Side: Out of a South Korean Orphanage and Into the World

The 2019 Gathering of the International Korean Adoptee Associations (IKAA) presents the international premiere of, Side by Side, a 10-channel video art installation, featuring 9 documentary short films and 100 portrait photographs.

Six years ago, Glenn and Julie Morey began filming the adult adoptee stories that became Side by Side—ultimately filming in cities all over the world, including Seoul, New York City, Paris, Melbourne, Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Stockholm, Boston, Chicago, Washington DC, Minneapolis, Seattle, Portland, and Denver—21 total hours of stories available at sidebysideproject.com since May, 2018.

That material has now been edited into 9 short films, each addressing a critical theme that emerged from the adult adoptee interviews: Memories of birth families and orphanage life in South Korea, the lives of those who aged out of the orphanages, growing up with new families in adoptive countries, self-identity development and change, visiting South Korea as adults, the desire to search for information and biological family, and stories of reunion.

An additional short film featuring aged-out South Koreans will not be part of the Seoul exhibit, due to agreements with those interview subjects that cited their privacy concerns. Those interviews are available, individually, online.


These are the stories of adult adoptees, born from the 1950s–1990s.

During and immediately following the Korean War, as many as two million infants and children had been orphaned or somehow separated from their families of origin—rounded up from the streets, found abandoned in doorways, police stations, and churches, then distributed to orphanages, to live side-by-side in rows of sleeping mats, boxes, and cribs.

The steady stream of homeless children continued through the post-war decade, political and social instability, the early growth, the IMF bail-out, and even through South Korea’s massive development and international expansion into a global economic force. Still, they were abandoned and relinquished into orphanages—the human consequences of hunger and poverty, social stigma and racial bigotry, disrupted homes, broken marriages, untimely death.

Over 60-plus years, some 180,000 were plucked from the orphanages and adopted out, primarily to a short list of Western countries. Most, however, weren’t chosen for adoption or weren’t eligible, and they “aged out” to face the challenges of living in Korea without a family. Others died in the orphanages or on the streets.

The adult adoptees, now living around the world, are a living case study of separation from families of origin, institutionalization and foster care, inter-country and most often transracial adoption. They are the authentic voices of a unique chapter of history, sociology, and diaspora. They are ground zero in expanding concepts of kinship and identity. They are the nurtured and the abused, the blessed and the broken, the loved and the lost, and the almost unimaginable diversity of stories that lie in between.


The Filmmakers

Glenn and Julie Morey are a Denver-based, husband/wife filmmaking team, creating award-winning work, together, since 1985. Glenn (AKA Kim Kang) was born in Seoul, South Korea, in 1960, and adopted at the age of six months to the United States.

“These stories, collectively, do not represent a political agenda of any kind. The purpose of this project is only to open an intensely experiential window of oral history, of social and academic understanding, and of empathy through art. We, as the filmmakers, ask you to recognize each story as that teller’s truth in life. We do not present them here to be judged. We only hope to promote a greater understanding of adoption out of South Korea, and inter-country adoption at large—widely practiced, not only in the wake of wars and geopolitical crises that separate millions of children from their biological families, but also in the course of family disruption and poverty.”

– Glenn and Julie Morey


Selected Links and Press

Online documentary installation: sidebysideproject.com

Short documentary film—trailer: https://vimeo.com/301630195 

Screenings and exhibitions: http://sidebysideproject.com/events

Immerse—Creative Discussion of Emerging Nonfiction Storytelling: https://immerse.news/random-chaos-of-the-universe-as-seen-through-the-eyes-of-orphaned-koreans-9571425423e

Psychology Today: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/adoption-diaries/201811/adult-adoptee-voices-are-changing-adoption-narrative 

Seoul Broadcasting System: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rj-NwdYg9j8

Colorado Public Radio: https://www.cpr.org/news/story/denver-filmmaker-explores-how-korean-adoptees-like-him-felt-like-martians-in-white?fbclid=IwAR2SoJkKsc9g6RL49PANPQ8wxOmNNMLpWkIVR8dxWZJNnv6pSrW7_JivzgI

Adoption Now: https://adoptionnow.com/podcast/out-of-a-south-korean-orphanage-glenn-moreys-story-about-finding-his-voice-and-creating-a-documentary/?fbclid=IwAR2zytc24Iyg4RYprkYyMqZFKCHwhVnp7RUFCGBDoH_aLzL_7UoLKyZJcSY

Hyphen—Asian America Unabridged: https://hyphenmagazine.com/blog/2019/02/changing-narrative-intercultural-adoption

Character Media—Asian Americans in Entertainment: https://charactermedia.com/asian-korean-documentary-project-side-by-side-shows-myriad-adoptee-stories/



Nathalie Levey, Publicity: [email protected]

Glenn Morey, Producer/Co-Director: [email protected]

Twitter—@sidebysideproj: https://twitter.com/sidebysideproj

Facebook—@sidebysideproj: http://facebook.com/SidebySideDocumentary/

Korean Film Archive in DMC

“Forget Me Not”

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. (83 min.)

Sun Hee Engelstoft’s biography: 

Sun Hee Engelstoft is a documentary director based in Copenhagen. Born in Busan, South Korea 1982 and adopted to Denmark. Having attended several schools for photography, she was accepted at the prestigious National Film School of Denmark, from which she graduated in 2011. “Forget Me Not” is her debut feature length documentary which has already gained international interest from pitch forums at Sheffield Doc/Fest, IDFA and DMZ International Documentary Film Festival in Korea. Engelstoft has previously made several short docs, edited numerous acclaimed photo books and travelled the world with different documentary projects and widely renowned photo exhibitions.

Screening followed by Q&A with Sun Hee Engelstoft

Event Co-Hosted by:
Minch & Films (KR)
Final Cut for Real (DK)
Thank you to: Korean Film Archive

Free Screening for IKAA G19 Gathering Participants with conference badge. 

Korean Film Archive, 400, World Cup buk-ro, Mapo-gu, Seoul (Sangam-dong) (03925): map


Duration: 83 min
Release: March 2019
Language: Korean, Danish and English 

Director Sun Hee Engelstoft
Producer Monica Hellström
Co-producer MinChul Kim

The film is supported by New Danish Screen // The Danish Film Institute – DR & TV2
West Danish Film Fund
DMZ, Docs KEB Peace Fund
Danish ArtsFoundation
Danish Film Directors
Korean Film Council

The film is developed by Profile Pictures.