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‘Minari’—An Appreciation

‘Minari’—An Appreciation ‘Minari’—An Appreciation

The Korean American Association co-sponsored with the GRF the screening of “Minari,” an award-winning movie, at the Amphitheater Aug. 6. The movie was preceded by a virtual greeting from film editor Harry Yoon. The following is in appreciation.

by Anna Derby

Korean American Association

The audience burst out laughing when 8-year-old David, a character in the movie “Minari,” handed his father a twig—not a big stick—to punish him for being rude to his grandmother.

As scene after scene unfolded when the movie was screened at the Amphitheater Aug. 6, I could hear the audience’s reaction: a gasp when Soon-Ja had a stroke; dismay when fire destroys the family’s life savings; laughter when money was taken from the church donation basket to help a family.

The movie was made all the more special by having film editor Harry Yoon greet the LW community with a virtual introduction.

My daughter Jane Mohon was instrumental in making that happen. She has worked in movie marketing in Hollywood for over 30 years. It was her idea to get a virtual greeting from one of the film makers. Her advice was to present a resident’s immigration story to kindle empathy for LWers and support for a personal message to the LW community.

Otherwise it would be a long shot.

I have an immigration story, and, as a Korean American Association Board member, I decided to tell that story to see if it would touch one of the film makers and entice them to make a special greeting for a special night in our beautiful Amphitheater.

Recreation Assistant Manager Kathy Thayer sent the following letter to Yoon: Dear Harry, Leisure World is a nationally recognized senior community that boasts nearly 10,000 active senior residents in Seal Beach, California. Golden Rain Foundation (GRF) is the corporation that manages these residents and their homes. Every summer, GRF hosts special entertainment in our 2,500-seat Amphitheater. Part of our summer season incorporates top-rated movies in this outdoor venue, and we’ve chosen to highlight your film, “Minari,” this year.

Over 20 percent of Leisure World’s residents are Korean Americans, the vast majority of them are the first-generation immigrants. Like the family in “Minari,” they came to America with the dream that their children would have better lives than themselves. They worked hard to make that dream come true for their children.

Recently, we received the following letter from one of our most prominent residents: “My name is Young-Hee Chun (American name Anna Derby), and I immigrated to America 40 years ago. My immigration was unique. I came to America as a single mother with my two young children, age 9 and 13. I had no language skills and no job. The only thing I had was the will to survive to see my dream come true for my children to have better lives than I had.

I would like to ask you if you would be willing to record a virtual greeting for Leisure World residents, especially those first-generation Korean Americans, who will connect so deeply with the film. It would be unforgettable for residents of all backgrounds to join you in celebrating the immigrant experience. . . .”

After a couple of follow up contacts with Yoon, he graciously sent a virtual greeting for us to share Aug. 6.

“Minari” drew the largest crowd in the history of Amphitheater Movie Nights, according to the GRF Recreation office.

So the long shot became a reality, thanks to luck and determination. Special thanks to the GRF Recreation Committee that chose this special movie to bring to LW and to GRF Director Paula Snowden who first had the idea to try and get a personal introduction to the film.

Harry Yoon, film editor for "Minari," gave a special video greet - ing to LW residents at the Aug. 6 Amphitheater screening of the award-winning movie.

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