[KS] (no subject)

Bryan R Ross bross at hawaii.edu
Sun Apr 4 14:14:43 EDT 1999


Contact: Juliet Brenegar, Diane Rostyak 212-989-7425

E-mail: brenegar at pov.org, rostyak at pov.org


They're called bar women, hostesses, or sex workers and "western
princesses." They come from poor families, struggling to earn a decent
wage, only to be forced into the world's oldest profession. They're the
women who work in the camptowns that surround
U.S. military bases in South Korea. In 40 years, over a million women
have worked in Korea's military sex industry, but their existence has
never been officially acknowledged by either government. In THE WOMEN
OUTSIDE, a film by J.T. Orinne Takagi and Hye Jung Park, some of these
women bravely speak out about their lives for the first time. The film
raises provocative questions about military policy, economic survival,
and the role of women in global geopolitics. Part of P.O.V., broadcast
television's only continuing forum for independent non-fiction film, THE
WOMEN OUTSIDE, a co-presentation of the National Asian American
Telecommunications Association (NAATA), will air nationally Tuesday,
July 16 at 10 P.M. ET on PBS (check local listings).

The Korean War ended in 1953, but 37,000 American troops remain in South
Korea to defend against possible invasion from the North in this, the
most militarized region in the world. Around each of the 99 bases and
installations are camptowns filled with bars,
clubs, brothels -- and over 27,000 women. Like migrant laborers, they
work long hours for a meager base pay of only 200,000 won ($250 US) a
month. The income barely covers food and rent; many become trapped in
the camptowns as they struggle to pay off their
ever-spiralling debts. Some dream of marrying U.S. military men and
getting a fresh start in America. But even for those who find American
G. I. husbands, resettling in the United States usually means
confronting racism, anti-immigrant sentiments, a new way of
life -- and even ostracism from the Korean American community. The
divorce rate for these Korean-American marriages is a staggering 80%.

It took Takagi and Park months to persuade current and former sex
workers to speak out. "It was difficult getting them to talk, and
extraordinary that we were allowed to film their faces," says Park. THE
WOMEN OUTSIDE focuses on several women, all of
whom share a fierce determination to survive despite the discouraging
odds. One of the film's central characters is Yang Hyang Kim, who
applied for a job in what she thought was a coffee house, only to be
sold to a brothel outside Camp Stanley. She tells her
wrenching story on camera with remarkable candor. After her first sexual
experience in the brothel, "I felt like dirty woman," she recalls,
wincing at the memory. She tried to commit suicide, but another woman
stopped her. "Physically I'm not a virgin," she says
softly. "But mentally I try to keep my pure heart." When she finally
escaped from the brothel, her family rejected her -- shamed by her
experience. Yang Hyang ended up returning to the camptowns.

THE WOMEN OUTSIDE also features interviews with representatives of South
Korea's women's movement, Korean scholars, and U.S. Army personnel. The
film charges that, working together, the Korean and American governments
have allowed the
camptown entertainment industry to flourish at the expense of countless
Korean women. According to the film, priorities are heartbreakingly
clear: all prostitutes are forcibly checked every two weeks for venereal
disease, and regularly for H.I.V.; the soldiers
are not. "If prostitutes and prostitution were really so natural, why
does it require so many decisions by military commanders, why does it
require so many negotiations?" asks Cynthia Enloe, professor of
government at Clark University. Military prostitution, she
maintains, "is not natural. It's negotiated -- it's got as long a memo
trail behind it as the fanciest weaponry."

For some, the consequences are deadly. Yoon Kum-Yi, a sex worker, was
brutally murdered in October, 1992 by Kenneth Markle, a U.S. serviceman
stationed at Camp Casey. When Korean women's groups organized massive
protests, Markle became the first
American soldier ever tried in Korean criminal courts. He was given a
life sentence -- though it was later reduced to 15 years.

Yang Hyang Kim is one of the lucky ones. THE WOMEN OUTSIDE follows her
deepening relationship with Todd, a G.I., as they work to accomodate
their cultural differences. Eventually, they marry, and Todd is
transferred to Hawaii, where Kim, now
pregnant, begins the difficult process of adapting to life in America.
"My hope is to see my baby," she says. "I want to take him to Burger
King or McDonald's and put a crown on his head....I want to educate
myself more. So I can become independent. So I can get
a better job so I can afford my boy, my son. And raise him proudly."

THE WOMEN OUTSIDE is a co-presentation of the National Asian American
Telecommunications Association (NAATA), the leading provider and
promoter of Asian American film and video for public television. Founded
in 1980, NAATA funds, distributes and promotes works on the Asian
American experience for public television.

THE WOMEN OUTSIDE is funded in part by the P.O.V. Minority Funding

                                           About the Filmmakers

J.T. Takagi is a third generation Japanese American independent
filmmaker who works with Third World Newsreel, a media arts center in
New York City. Takagi's films include HOMES APART: KOREA, about the
division of Korea, which won a Special
Jury Award at the San Francisco International Film Festival; COMMUNITY
PLOT, a 20-minute black comedy set in the Lower East Side, which
received the 1984 First Prize short at the Amiens International Film
documentary on the resettlement of Southeast Asian refugees in the U.S.
She is currently working on a documentary about new immigrants in
Queens, entitled THE #7 TRAIN (with Hye Jung Park).

Hye Jung Park is a first generation Korean American independent
filmmaker and film curator. Park is Program Director of Downtown
Community TV Center, a media access center. She co-produced the
documentary UNTIL DAYBREAK and her production


A Film by J.T. Takagi and Hye Jung Park

Editor Maro Chermayeff

Associate Editor Gina Sohn

Cinematography Sandra Chandler, Emiko Omori,

Herman Lew, Ellen Kuras

Original Music Jason Hwang

Suzanne Singer is executive producer of P.O.V.; Lisa Heller is producer.
Major funding is provided by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur
Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Corporation for
Public Broadcasting and public television viewers.
Funding for P.O.V.'s Minority Funding Partnership is provided by the
National Asian American Telecommunications Association (NAATA), the
National Black Programming Consortium (NBPC), the Aaron Diamond
Foundation, and The Andy Warhol Foundation
for the Visual Arts. P.O.V. is presented by a consortium of public
television stations including KCET/Los Angeles; WGBH/Boston; and
WNET/New York.

P.O.V. is produced by The American Documentary, Inc.; Ellen Schneider is
executive director and Marc Weiss is director of special projects. Ward
Chamberlin is chief executive officer.



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