Documentary Film about Korean Diaspora in Kazakhstan Screens March 5

Director Y. David Chung will answer questions at UC Riverside about his film, “Koryo Saram — The Unreliable People.”

A woman at a Soviet collective farm in Kazakhstah, 1946. © Koryo Saram The Unreliable People

RIVERSIDE, Calif. — A documentary film about the Korean diaspora in Kazakhstan will screen at UC Riverside on March 5, followed by a question-and-answer period with film director Y. David Chung.

“Koryo Saram — The Unreliable People” was released in 2007. The 60-minute film will screen at 3:10 p.m. in Interdisciplinary Building room 4043. The event is free. Parking costs $8.

The film documents Stalin’s 1937 campaign of ethnic cleansing and forcible deportation of 180,000 Koreans living in the coastal provinces of Russia near the border of North Korea to the unsettled steppe country of Central Asia 3,700 miles away.

“Koryo Saram” is the Soviet Korean phrase for “Korean person.”

Through recently uncovered archival footage and new interviews, the film follows the deportees’ history of integrating into the Soviet system while working under punishing conditions in Kazakhstan, a country which became a concentration camp of exiled people from throughout the Soviet Union.  

Y. David Chung

Director/producer Y. David Chung is an associate professor at the School of Art and Design and the former director of the Center for Korean Studies at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. He is an artist and filmmaker who has exhibited widely throughout the country and internationally.  Among his credits are “Surveillance, No Place to Hide” (HBO), “American Journey” (PBS), “Time” (PBS), “Gardens of Paradise” (PBS), “The Forgotten People” (PBS), “Soldiers in Hiding” (HBO) and “Peace on Borrowed Time” (ABC). He won Best of Show for “Turtle Boat Head” at the Rosebud Film and Video Awards in Washington, D.C.

The event is hosted by the Young Oak Kim Center for Korean American Studies and sponsored by the Department of Ethnic Studies, Ethnic Studies 133 (Asian Diasporas), and the Department of Media and Cultural Studies.

For more information contact Carol Park at the Young Oak Kim Center at


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Carol Park

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