1992 riots the centerpiece of Korean American Film Festival

The festival, which continues through Saturday, includes five films on the 1992 Los Angeles riots and their effect on the Korean American community.

For over a decade, Korean filmmaker Alex Ko has lived in a family silenced by the devastating loss of their store during the 1992 L.A. Riots. In the film “Pok Dong,” the Ko family shares their story.

Thinking back on the 1992 L.A. riots, specific images come to mind: the grainy video of the Rodney King beating, burning buildings, and police and military on the streets. More fuzzy in the collective memory for many is the emotional and physical toll the mayhem took on the Korean American community in Los Angeles, as many people lost their shops and businesses.

Continuing through Saturday, the first Korean American Film Festival Los Angeles features 24 movies (including narrative and short films and documentaries), with its centerpiece program of five movies focusing on the Korean American perspective on the riots 20 years later. All screenings take place at the Korean Cultural Center, 5505 Wilshire Blvd.

K.J. Park, co-founder and director of the festival, said its overall theme is “the search for identity — that, I believe, is something many Korean Americans are still searching for. Are they Korean? Are they American? Who are they?”

Park, 34, said beyond letting audiences explore questions of identity, the festival is also about giving Korean American filmmakers a leg up. “For most minorities, it is always a challenge to break into the film industry, and this festival gives Korean Americans a platform to introduce their voice.”


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