First Person Plural


Middle 40-60% of all time (see others with this rank)

Festival Year

2000 (click here to see all competition films from this year)


Documentary Competition

Non-Cast Credits

Deann Borshay Liem, Vivian Kleiman, Michael Chin, Vivien Hillgrove, Mark Adler


When Deann Borshay set out to make a documentary about herself, she found she was making a film about three different people from two countries. First Person Plural is the touching story of her struggle to set right a case of mistaken identity that cast a shadow over her otherwise-successful adoption.

The Borshays, a typical middle-class American family, learned about the foster parents program for South Korean orphans while watching television one afternoon. After two years, Alveen and Arnold Borshay adopted Cha Jung Hee, and, on March 3, 1966, they picked up their bundle of love from the airport and named her Deann. Once in America, the newest Borshay tried to retain her memories of another family in Kora, but her assimilation into California teenage life proved powerful.

Depression and haunting dreams in her later life drove Deann to investigate her adoption file. In it she found pictures of two little girls: One was named Cha Jung Hee, but the one who most resembled Deann was called Ok Chin. More than learning she was not the person she thought she was, her investigation uncovered the story of her unknown family and the web of dubious socioeconomic forces that places Ok Chin on a plane to America.

Archival footage of 195_s Korean and 8-mm home movies of her American family combine with powerful footage of Borshay and her two families as they attempt to reconcile a daunting legacy of cultural and moral contradictions. Emotionally poignant and politically relevant, First Person Plural is personal documentary at its best.


Shari Frilot (see other films reviewed by the same reviewer)

Film Takes Pace.