Tiffany Hsiung’s award-winning National Film Board of Canada (NFB) feature documentary The Apology is coming to Toronto and Vancouver this December, with a one-week run at the Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema starting December 2 and screenings at the Vancity Theatre in Vancouver on December 3 and 4. Hsiung will be present to take questions from the audience in Toronto on December 6 and 8, with Q&As at both Vancouver screenings as well.
The feature documentary debut by Toronto-based Hsiung, The Apology follows the personal journeys of three “grandmothers”—Grandma Gil in South Korea, Grandma Cao in China, and Grandma Adela in the Philippines. Some 70 years after their imprisonment in so-called “comfort stations,” the grandmothers face their twilight years in fading health.
As former “comfort women,” they are among the 200,000 girls and young women kidnapped and forced into military sexual slavery by the Imperial Japanese Army during World War II. After decades of living in silence and shame about their past, they know that time is running out to give a first-hand account of the truth and ensure that this horrific chapter of history is not forgotten.
Whether they are seeking a formal apology from the Japanese government or summoning the courage to finally share their secret with loved ones, their resolve moves them forward as they seize this last chance to set future generations on a course for reconciliation, healing, and justice.
Produced by Anita Lee for the NFB, The Apology had its world premiere in the Big Ideas section at the 2016 Hot Docs fest, where it was the runner-up for the audience award and was hailed by The Globe and Mail as a “deeply moving film… the women display a resilience and a persistence that is inspiring.” Screenings to date include South Korea’s Busan International Film Festival, in October, where it received the Cinephile Award, given to the best world documentary film in the Wide Angle Documentary Showcase.
Hsiung is a graduate of Ryerson University, where she studied film production and received the Norman Jewison Award for Excellence in Filmmaking. Her award-winning short film Binding Borders (2007) screened in film festivals internationally and propelled Hsiung to direct the RCI/CBC six-part miniseries on Beijing’s first ever Olympic Games, A New Face for Beijing (2008). Whether it is filmmaking or teaching, Hsiung’s work has taken her through and beyond the diverse communities of her hometown, and well across the globe. Her socially conscious work and dynamic artistry spark a unique energy in the stories of marginalized individuals and communities. Hsiung’s approach to storytelling is driven by the relationships she builds with the people she meets. By shooting much of her own work, Hsiung obtains unobtrusive access to the stories she captures.