In Crossings, a group of internationally renowned women peacemakers crosses the DMZ from North to South Korea, calling for peace on the Korean peninsula. The film follows key women leaders, including Gloria Steinem and Nobel Peace Laureates Leymah Gbowee and MaireadMaguire, on this historic journey. Through their story, Crossings explores enduring questions about war’s legacies and the role women play in resolving the world’s most intractable conflicts. (Photos by Niana Liu).
The Demilitarized Zone separating South and North Korea is the Cold War’s last remaining barrier. It is also a potent symbol of the Korean War, halted by armistice, not a peace treaty. For nearly 70 years, politicians have failed to reach consensus about this division, stoking tension and fear of renewed fighting, while continuing to separate millions of family members. In 2015, a group of women decided to take action. That May, Korean American activist Christine Ahn brought thirty women, including Nobel Peace Laureates Leymah Gbowee and Mairead Maguire plus feminist pioneer Gloria Steinem, to Pyongyang to discuss peace. They joined thousands of North Korean women on a peace walk, then crossed the DMZ to meet with South Korean women activists.
This unprecedented border crossing, the complex, politically sensitive effort required to accomplish it, and the women’s profound and frank encounters along the way, becomes a dramatic entry point and continuing thread in Crossings. The film tells the surprising story of women’s commitment to peacefully resolve the on-going Korean crisis. As Crossings reveals, South and North Korean women have been quietly meeting for years to discuss achieving peace and reconciliation, if not reunification. We follow activist Christine Ahn, whose determination is only matched by her expertise, as an international movement of women peace activists grows around her efforts.
We see how the 2017 Candlelight Revolution in South Korea, which overthrew a corrupt president and reversed years of hawkish policies towards North Korea, offers an unexpected opening. With a second Kim-Trump meeting in February 2019 and South Korea’s Moon Jae In and Kim Jong Un contemplating another summit, Women Cross DMZ leaders, Nobel Women’s Initiative, Korean Women’s Movement for Peace, and other allies are mobilizing for a peace treaty. Amid hope and uncertainty, these women are determined to tip the balance towards diplomacy. Through their story, Crossings raises critical questions about war’s legacies and the role women can play in resolving the world’s most intractable conflicts.
New York Times Article about the crossing: