I first met Mina Fitzpatrick in Buenos Aires, Argentina. We stayed in touch over the years and it was dope to connect over a LIFESTYLE Artist Feature about her filmmaking work. Mina has been living in Seoul, South Korea for the past two and a half years working on Two Together, a documentary film following the lives of 3 single mothers in South Korea, where single mothers often face significant social discrimination and pressure to give up their children for adoption. This is Mina’s first film and she notes the importance of taking the time to learn as much as possible about the craft while she works on the product itself. For this artist, Reflection and Response involves slowing down and giving the required time to reflect instead of responding immediately. Mina and her co-documentarian Tom Krawczyk are currently starting the editing process, so peep the Two Together website for updates on a release date!
To me, reflection and response reject the idea of immediacy, and instead demand time and patience from your work. So often we are caught up on the idea of responding to something, that we forget to reflect on it first.
Leading off with some basics, where are you from? And where are you at?
MF: I’m originally from Seattle, Washington. I was born in Vermont and moved to South Korea when I was five years old. I spent most of my young adult life growing up in Seattle, and went to college in Houston, Texas. Now, I’ve found my way back to Korea, and have been living here for the past two and a half years. I love living in Seoul, with its fast-paced lifestyle, delicious food, and lively people. Definitely a place I’m proud to call home.
What does Reflection and Response mean to you?
MF: To me, reflection and response reject the idea of immediacy, and instead demand time and patience from your work. So often we are caught up on the idea of responding to something, that we forget to reflect on it first.
Two Together Documentary TRAILER: http://twotogetherdocumentary.weebly.com/
The decision to raise a child as a single mother is never an easy one. In Korea, where unwed motherhood is highly stigmatized, the decision is especially difficult. For many years, the Korean government played no small role in influencing this decision. Instead of offering financial and social support to unwed mothers, the government opted for a system that seemingly swept the problem under the rug: overseas adoption. Today, Korea has the largest adult population of adoptees in the world, and the vast majority of Korean adoptees are the children of unwed mothers.
This documentary follows the stories of three different women. While their stories are different, each demonstrates the need to give women back the right to decide. It advocates for a society in which mothers can choose to raise their own children.
How does your work with the documentary “Two Together” fit in with that definition?
MF: As a novice filmmaker, this project has been a huge growing experience. I feel excited to have found a profession in which I feel just as excited about the “artistic process” as I do about the finished product. You know that old saying, “Anything worthwhile is worth the wait”? Taking time has not only allowed me to reflect on the characters, and their stories, but also on myself, and my role as a filmmaker. As I reflect, I am able to create a response that is deeper, and more meaningful to me, and hopefully to my audience.
What else have you been working on recently? What are you looking to work on next?
MF: At the moment, most of my energy is focused on this project, as we are just beginning the long editing process. When I’m not working on the documentary, I usually spend time doing things that will help me become a better filmmaker, whether it be reading, writing, taking photographs, watching other documentaries or practicing Korean. When I move back to the States, I hope to work on some more local projects, maintaining a focus on social-political issues, and giving a voice to those who are rarely heard.
Who or what inspires you?
MF: I find the women whom I work with and interview to be very inspiring. Single mothers in Korea face significant discrimination, and as a result, most women facing the decision to raise a child alone or give them up for adoption choose the latter. Mothers who make the difficult choice to keep and raise their children alone in an unsupportive society often have a refreshing and inspiring perspective.
MF: This documentary project has been a two-man venture from the start. I’ve been working very closely with photographer and videographer, Tom Krawczyk, a fellow American and ex-English teacher in Korea. Without his camerawork, editing, and overall input for the documentary, it really wouldn’t have been possible. I’d like to acknowledge his contribution and our partnership in this project, as well as showcase a couple of his photos!
Keep up with the Two Together documentary project at the following links:
- Website: http://twotogetherdocumentary.weebly.com/
- Tumblr: http://twotogetherdocumentary.tumblr.com/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/twotogetherdocumentary
Reflection and Response.