In CROSSINGS, a determined group of internationally renowned women peacemakers will attempt the impossible: crossing the demilitarized zone (DMZ) from North to South Korea, calling for peace on the Korean peninsula. The film will follow key women leaders from twelve countries, including two Nobel peace laureates, on this historic journey as they face political and social obstacles, mixed public opinion, fear, and red-baiting. Through their journey, Crossings will tell a story of global resonance about a divided nation and explore enduring questions about war’s legacies and the role women play in resolving the world’s most intractable conflicts.
A profound oxymoron, the DMZ is the most heavily militarized border in the world. Called the “scariest place on earth” by Bill Clinton, it is 155 miles long and 2.5 miles wide. Within the 2.5 mile area lies the Joint Security Area bisected by the Military Demarcation Line (MDL), an actual concrete artery that separates the two states. Here soldiers in the North and the United Nations Command in the South face off against one another, while tourists on both sides peer at each other across the divide.
On Sunday, May 24, 2015, a peace delegation of thirty women from around the world plans to walk across the DMZ from North to South Korea. Led by Korean American activist Christine Ahn, women’s rights activist and author Gloria Steinem, and Nobel Peace Laureates Mairead Maguire (Northern Ireland) and Leymah Gbowee (Liberia), the women will walk with North Korean women leaders to Panmunjom, the site of the 1953 Korean War Armistice signing. At Panmunjom, they plan to sit down with women representatives from the South and make a joint declaration calling for peace and reconciliation on the Korean peninsula. The international women will then bid farewell to their North Korean counterparts and cross the Military Demarcation Line to be greeted by additional South Korean women leaders with whom they will walk together reiterating their call for peace and a reunified Korea.
CROSSINGS (working title) will tell the story of this historic event that will unfold on the 70th anniversary of Korea’s division. The film will go behind the scenes with lead organizer, Christine Ahn, as she brings together an accomplished cohort of women leaders to cross the DMZ as a symbolic protest of Korea’s division and bring global attention to the urgency to formally end the Korean War.
The production team will follow the international delegates throughout their entire trip from Beijing to Pyongyang and on to Seoul. At each juncture we will conduct interviews with the delegates as well as with women from both the north and south. Although wide-ranging, our interviews will explore the personal impacts of a divided nation on these women’s lives, how the un-ended Korean War shapes public attitudes toward the ‘enemy-other,’ and the role of and prospects for building international solidarity to bring peace to the Korean peninsula. Our conversations in the north will be among the first ever to be recorded by a western film crew on women’s attitudes toward some of the most important and sensitive issues to the North Korean people.
By bringing together the missing voices of women from North and South Korea, and the international community, CROSSINGS will broaden the public’s thinking about Korea’s division. Ending the Korean War and finding a meaningful path to reunification will surely not be achieved overnight. However, a trailblazing journey in solidarity with the Korean people’s desire for peaceful reconciliation can begin with a single step – a step across a one-foot concrete border at the DMZ.
Approximately 4 million people lost their lives in the Korean War, and the peninsula is a perpetual flash point for renewed fighting. Yet Korea is out of sight and out of mind to most Americans and the Korean War is best known, paradoxically, as the “forgotten war.” Our goals with this film are to elevate public awareness of Korea’s contemporary plight, convey insights about ways to promote solidarity and reconciliation arising from the creative dialogue of accomplished women activists, and encourage reflection on the shared challenges of peace-making in Korea and other nations and communities.
The delegates plan to cross the DMZ on May 24th, 2015. We are currently preparing for production, including raising funds via Kickstarter. Please support our campaign with a donation, a “like” on Facebook, and by sharing the Kickstarter link with your network. You can do this using one of the email templates on this page.
A full list of the women delegates can be found here: www.womencrossdmz.org.
New York Times Article about the crossing: