Visiting Filmmaker Shares Message of Resilience

DUBUQUE- Since 2009, Canadian filmmaker Tiffany Hsiung has been following the lives of three former “comfort women.” These women, now referred to as grandmothers, were forced into military sexual slavery by the Japanese Imperial Army during World War Two. Inspired by their bravery and resilience, Hsiung began the process of creating a feature length documentary film to share their stories.

“I initially knew nothing about this history,” explains Hsiung. “And so in 2009 what was supposed to be just a study tour of documentary features turned into a life-changing journey of hearing these stories first-hand from the survivors.”

On Monday, she brought part of the finished product to the University of Dubuque. The school’s Asian Student Union hosted a screening of a shortened version of Hsiung’s film The Apology followed by a presentation and Q&A session with the director.

Since the film’s initial release in 2016, Hsiung has traveled the world sharing the survivor’s stories and beginning wider conversations about sexual violence. She hopes that the stories of these women will encourage a more supportive environment for survivors.

“It starts with creating a safe space for survivors to speak out,” says Hsiung. “I hope that after watching The Apology that people can take it upon themselves to see how they might contribute to perpetuating the shame and the silence without even knowing.”

The film is available for streaming on PBS.org until November 20th. To learn more about the film and the survivors, visit The Apology Community on Facebook.

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