Seayoon Jeong is a New York based producer, director, and writer. Seayoon has produced dozens of short films, including Broken Badge, executive produced by Academy Award nominated Michael Houseman (Gangs of New York, Brokeback Mountain). She has worked with award-winning independent filmmakers as associate producer to help finance their feature film projects, including Kilo Two Bravo (nominee for Outstanding Debut by a British Writer, Director, or Producer at the BAFTA Awards), and Growing Up Smith (Audience Award winner at the Woodstock Film Festival).
Seayoon has also directed two short films, one of which, The Last Day of Summer, was shown at multiple film festivals and won the Award of Merit at the IndieFest Film Awards. Seayoon’s current directorial short film project, Breaking the Silence has won dozens of awards at multiple film festivals, including the Los Angles Film Awards and TopShorts festival. She currently has Breaking the Silence in development as a full-length feature, and at the same time Seayoon is working on a novelization of the film in cooperation with a published novelist.
When I was a little girl, I often heard stories about comfort women from my grandmother, who had lived through the Japanese occupation of Korea, as well as from my parents and teachers, as the negative effects of Imperial Japan’s occupation of Korea before and during World War II continued to be controversial and profound for national morale. In addition, I sometimes watched organized protests of the small number of survivors on TV. As a result, I was fully aware of comfort women, who remained underrepresented and voiceless. However, my desire to make a movie about comfort women didn’t emerge until my grandmother’s passing five years ago.
At her funeral, it suddenly dawned on me that older people like my grandmother, who had endured the war and could offer first-hand accounts of it, were disappearing. As a result, future generations will not have the chance to learn about the hidden tragedy of the comfort women, especially in the United States, where there’s a lack of diversity in the school’s curriculum. This could lead to the important but underrepresented stories of the comfort women soon being forgotten and buried in history. This realization led me to want to make a film about the comfort women not only to leave behind a visual record that depicts them with a focus on an emotional arc in a narrative form, but also to give the voiceless a voice.
For this reason, Breaking the Silence examines the psychological and emotional effects of the comfort women experiences, including the guilt and shame associated with them, on a woman who has remained silent for nearly forty years until fate brings her to reveal the truth about her harrowing past during WWII so she can come to terms with her past and finally move forward with newfound peace.