Documentary on the Life of Halla Pai Huhm to be Previewed

The life of Hal­la Pai Huhm (1922 – 1994), who pio­neered the preser­va­tion of Kore­an cul­ture and her­itage in Hawai‘i through dance, is the sub­ject of a doc­u­men­tary being pro­duced by film­mak­er Bil­lie Lee. 

Mov­ing Home: The Lega­cy of Hal­la Pai Huhm is the first doc­u­men­tary film to explore the career of Huhm, who estab­lished the longest-run­ning Kore­an dance stu­dio in the Islands and left behind an impor­tant cul­tur­al lega­cy. The film is sched­uled to be com­plet­ed in time for release in Jan­u­ary 2013, coin­cid­ing with the 110th anniver­sary of the begin­ning of Kore­an immi­gra­tion to Hawai‘i.

The Cen­ter for Kore­an Stud­ies will spon­sor an intro­duc­tion to this project on Tues­day, Feb­ru­ary 21, 2012, from 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at the Cen­ter, 1881 East-West Road, on the UH Manoa cam­pus. Meet the film’s director/​producer, see a short work-in-progress pre­view of the film, and enjoy a per­for­mance by dancers from the Hal­la Huhm Dance Stu­dio. It’s free and open to the public.

Hal­la Pai Huhm

Hal­la Huhm was rec­og­nized as the first Out­stand­ing Kore­an in Hawai‘i by the Kore­an Com­mu­ni­ty Coun­cil and received numer­ous cita­tions from the State of Hawai‘i, includ­ing an invi­ta­tion from for­mer Gov­er­nor William F. Quinn to serve as a mem­ber of his Cul­tur­al Com­mis­sion. She was a true pio­neer who worked to assure that Kore­an dance would be includ­ed with­in the mul­ti-eth­nic tapes­try of dances in Hawai‘i, there­by giv­ing sig­nif­i­cant vis­i­bil­i­ty and voice to the Kore­an experience.

Beyond sim­ply trac­ing Huhm’s life sto­ry, the doc­u­men­tary will explore uni­ver­sal ques­tions sur­round­ing how we define and estab­lish our iden­ti­ties and how we can find a sense of com­mu­ni­ty in a mul­ti-faceted world.

The film­mak­er, Bil­lie Lee, is a sec­ond-gen­er­a­tion Kore­an Amer­i­can visu­al artist. Born in Korea, reared in New York City, and now liv­ing in Hon­olu­lu, she strives to find sub­jects that illu­mi­nate how we are con­nect­ed through com­plex social and his­tor­i­cal cir­cum­stances and how art and film can cre­ate a space for reflec­tion. Her pre­vi­ous work includes a video doc­u­men­tary based on her jour­ney to North Korea. Her work has been shown in New York, San Fran­cis­co, Berlin, Barcelona, and Hallein, Aus­tria, with awards includ­ing a Ful­bright Fel­low­ship to South Korea. She holds degrees from the Yale School of Art and the Rhode Island School of Design.

For more infor­ma­tion about the doc­u­men­tary project, see http://www.legacyofhallahuhm.com or send e-mail to hallahuhm@gmail.com. For fur­ther infor­ma­tion about the Feb­ru­ary 21 event, includ­ing infor­ma­tion about access for the hand­i­capped, tele­phone the Cen­ter at (808) 956‑7041. Paid vis­i­tor park­ing is avail­able in the lot next to the Cen­ter after 4:00 p.m. week­days (see http://www.hawaii.edu/parking/resources/MapFiles/visitorparkingmap.pdf).