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I am making a documentary on this Korean family in Cuba who helped bring Korea's independence and the Cuban revolution.
I am making a documentary on this Korean family in Cuba who helped bring Korea's independence and the Cuban revolution.
105 backers pledged $17,930 to help bring this project to life.
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안녕하세요. 한글 설명은 제일 아래쪽에 가보시면 읽으실 수 있습니다! 

On December 28, 2015, I went to Cuba. I had no particular agenda other than backpacking and visiting Che Guevara's burial site. However, I experienced something much greater than mere tourism. The story that unfolded before me has profoundly shaped my worldview.  

For those who've known me for some time know that one of the topics that really gets me fired up is the notion of Korean diaspora. 

When I went to high school in LA, I used to think that Los Angeles must be where the largest Korean community is concentrated outside of Korea. This was a premature thought. When I went to Yanji, China, after college, I realized that there are nearly 2 million ethnic-Korean Chinese people living there. 

When I was backpacking across Europe, I stumbled upon a Korean-German 2nd generation's annual reunion in Hamburg, and found out that there are more than 50,000 Korean-Germans living there. When I interned in Sao Paulo, Brazil, there was also 50,000 or so Korean-Brazilian immigrant community.  Even South Africa and Jordan where I went to volunteer for over two months had sizable Korean communities in the hundreds.  

Then there is North Korea where 25 million Koreans live, whom we know nothing about and won't be able to meet for an indefinite future.  

I am not advocating for Korean nationalism. Quite the contrary. Ghandi, MLK Jr., Mandela, Aung San Suu Kyi, and other peaceful icons around the world all had passionate love and hope for their own people, not because they were superior or because they were more important, but because they were in an inferior position that called for a sense of unity and hope. I feel similarly towards many overseas Koreans, especially those outside of North America. Due to centuries long oppression from neighboring countries and internal conflicts, millions of Koreans had to flee to other countries - and the vast majority of them had to endure hardships associated with minority experiences in places where Asian face was unfamiliar and unwelcoming. They were the generation of silence and sacrifices.  

If we can uncover the stories of overseas Koreans in various parts of the world and help them in whichever we can, I think this will bring a true sense of reunification of Korean diasporas and provide a pathway towards the reunification of North and South Koreas. This sense of empowerment, and firm conviction of our identity, will also enable us to fulfill our duties as a responsible citizen in the respective countries where we live. 

So that was a long preface. 

On December 28, 2015, I went to Cuba for a break. But the first Cuban I met was a taxi driver who picked me up at the airport, a middle age Asian lady. As we hit the road, I got curious and asked her background. She said she's a 4th generation Korean Cuban. Right then and there I knew this trip was meant for something larger than lots of mojito drinking. 

Because I got so excited and asked many questions, she, Patricia Lim, invited me to her family's house the next day to meet with her mother, son, brother, and extended family members. I visited two houses, and both houses had a Korean flag at the center of the living room, as shown in the picture. 

Patricia's mother, Cristina, at 87, was the most passionate person I met in life. As it turns out, Cristina's husband, who passed away 8 years ago, was the legendary revolutionary fighter in the Cuban revolution. Jerónimo Lim was his name and he fought alongside Fidel and Che to take down Batista's dictatorship in the 1950's. He later became the Vice Minister of Cuba and at some point worked with Che Guevara to bring sweeping changes to the new Cuban government.  

Equally remarkable is the story of Jeronimo's father, Lim Cheon Taek, who came to Mexico from Korea in 1905 as one of the surrogate "slaves" to work at Henequen plants. Soon thereafter he moves to Cuba to do the same work and settles there. He and his children were to endure decades of discrimination as a minority Korean immigrant and yet they would maintain their sense of Korean identity. During the 20-40's when Korea was under Japanese' colonial power, Cheon Taek collects funds and supplies to Korea's independent government in Shanghai, corresponding with Kim Gu, Korea's founding father. Cheon Taek becomes a courageous and conscious voice in Central/South America to expose Japanese' brutal atrocities. No wonder his son Jeronimo had the fighters' spirit. As I was listening to the adventures and tales of Lim's family, I was blown away countless times, and I knew this had to be made into a film. 

Despite Lim family's revolutionary tales, history had its twist, and all of them now live in relative poverty under a failing regime. Still, they cooked me kimchi and fried rice and grandfathers gave me their hand-made cigars. They tried to give everything they had when I was the one from the capitalistic, materialistic world. So, wasn't that special. I think it was. 

Since their voyage to Mexico in 1905 crossing the Pacific ocean to now living under one of the most repressive communist regimes in the world, the family has gone through a jaw-dropping epic journey, some of which I hope to capture in this documentary.

So, I am going back to make a feature length documentary on the family of Lim and other Korean Cuban family members. I would greatly, greatly appreciate your support.

I am proud to announce my Project Film Crew will be as follows:

o Jasun (Jason) Song, Independent Filmmaker, Former MTV Producer
- In charge of cinematography and all camera work

o William Juhn, Human rights lawyer and Writer 
-  in charge of biography writing of Lim's family and mic work

o Joseph Juhn, Director
- in charge of pre and post production, interviewing, and storytelling

o Jennifer Prufer, Web developer and digital marketer - Fluent Spanish speaking Korean-American, help with marketing, guide, and logistics

o Grace Subervi, Entertainment talent, interpreter
- helping with logistics, guide, schmoozing, some entertainment, and winning Korean-Cubans heart

==

친구분들, 

저를 잘 아시는분들은 이미 아시겠지만, 제가 가장 열정적으로 생각하는 주제가 바로 "한인 정체성," 그리고 "코리안 디아스포라"입니다. 

2016년 새해를 며칠 앞두고, 쿠바에 갔었습니다. 사실 혼자 그냥 놀러갔는데, 운명같은 일이 벌어졌죠. 저를 픽업하러 온 택시 기사 아주머니, Patricia가 한인 4세 쿠바인이었습니다. 사실 너무 놀라서 가족에 대해 이것저것 많이 물어보니깐 그 다음날 있던 가족모임에 저를 초대했습니다. 가족모임에 갔는데 Patricia의 아버님께서 "임은조"라는 분이십니다. 이 분은 쿠바혁명에 중추적 역할을 하고 나중에는 체 게바라와 함께 쿠바정부에서 고위직을 맡아 서로 함께 일하기도 했습니다. 이 분은 또한 피델 카스트로와 함께 법대를 다닌 동료이기도 합니다. 저는 어려서부터 체게바라를 존경하며 자랐는데 체 게바라와 같이 혁명을 일으킨 분들 중에 한인이 있었다는 사실이 믿겨지지가 않았죠. 

또한 임은조씨의 아버님은 "임천택"이라는 분이십니다. 이 분은 일제 강정기시절 조국의 독립을 위해 열심히 일한 품삯을 모아 쿠바와 멕시코 한인들에게 모금을 독려하고 상해 임시 정부에 있던 백범 김구 선생께 독립자금을 오랫동안 보냈습니다. 백범일지에 임천택 선생님의 이름도 나온다고 합니다. 혁명가 집안입니다. 

아버지는 한국의 독립을 위해, 아들은 쿠바의 독립을 위해 싸웠습니다. 하지만 역사는 그들의 편이 아니었습니다. 쿠바가 공산주의를 표방한 "독재" 노선을 타버리며 "혁명"의 진정한 의미가 지금보면 묻혀버렸으니까요. 임은조 선생님께서도 타계하시기 전, 당시 쿠바의 현실을 보며 한탄하셨다고 합니다. 인권과 평등과 자유가 보장되는 사회가 아닌, 독재정권으로 전락한데에 대해서 말이지요. 

아무튼, 저는 이 집안과 현재 쿠바에서 사는 900여명의 한인 후손들에 대한 다큐멘터리를 제작하고자 실력있는 팀과 함께 쿠바로 돌아가려고 합니다. 모든 프로젝트를 완성하기 위해, 만불을 모금합니다. 모든 기부금은 영화제작을 위해 사용될 것이고 부당한 목적으로 사용되지 않을것입니다. "한인 체게바라"라는 가제의 프로젝트가 실제 이루어질 수 있도록 여러분의 많은 관심과 성원 부탁드릴께요. 

전후석 드림

Risks and challenges

So far, things look good. I have recruited 3 people (potentially 4) to help me with this project and Patricia is helping me from the Cuban side.

You can rest assured that I'll fly over to Cuba by late July, film stuff, and comeback by mid August and jump right into post-production. I do expect some delays as it'll take more than a month or two to edit / compose music (purchase licensed music) / and produce the film, but I am expecting to get everything done before the dawn of 2017.

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- (28 days)