Dad eyes justice for daughter in ‘Another Family’
Despite her upbringing in the rural city of Sokcho, Gangwon, the 20-year-old Hwang was now working for Korea’s biggest conglomerate, something to make her cabbie dad proud of.
Hwang’s job at the company, which had the slogan “Another Family” during the 1990s, was dipping semiconductors into a chemical solution on assembly line 3.
But Hwang’s joy, as well as that of her family’s, was short-lived. Two years later, Hwang was diagnosed with an advanced stage of leukemia.
Thus begins the plight of the Hwangs as chronicled in “Another Family.”
Although she sought treatment right away and was given a bone-marrow transplant, the cancer came back a year later. In 2007, Hwang died in the back of her father’s taxi. She was just 23.
Samsung’s official stance was that there was no causal relationship between Hwang’s 10-month employment with them and her sickness. Initially, the Korean Worker’s Compensation and Welfare Service agreed.
Since then, it has been a grueling battle for Hwang’s father, Hwang Sang-ki, to get the company to admit its part in his daughter’s death, as well as those of her colleagues who contracted similar diseases.
In 2011, the Seoul High Court ruled in favor of Hwang, agreeing that his daughter’s death was an occupational fatality, overturning the welfare agency’s ruling that the company was innocent.
The four-year-long legal battle undertaken by the cabbie will be highlighted with the release of “Another Family” next month. The public will be able to grasp what happened in a story that was underreported by most media.
Director Kim Tae-yoon said that he was shocked when he came across the story in a newspaper in the summer of 2011.
“The fight was inspirational,” said Kim, who vowed then to make a movie out of the David-versus-Goliath tale. But like the tale he wanted to tell, Kim found himself facing many obstacles. “Many people tried to talk me out of it,” said Kim. After all, who would be stupid enough to invest in a movie that portrays the nation’s biggest corporation in a negative light?
This is where the Korean public came to Kim’s aid. The film was financed completely with crowd funding. More than 7,500 people pitched in to pool 303 million won ($285,123), while about 100 private investors chipped in another 1 billion won.
Kim said his movie is not a documentary or any sort of whistle-blowing feature, but an account of a family’s ordeal as it took on a fight that no family is ever ready for.
The film stars Park Cheol-min, Kim Gyu-ri, Yoon Yoo-sun and Park Hee-jung. It opens Feb. 6.
BY CARLA SUNWOO [email@example.com]