akaDAN Documentary Premiere Brings Friends and Family Together

Several weeks ago on February 1, I had the pleasure of attending and volunteering at the akaDAN Documentary Premiere, held at the JapaneseAmericanNationalMuseum in Little Tokyo, Los Angeles.

You might be thinking, “What’s akaDAN, and what is it about?” It is an incredible story documenting the reunion of a Korean-American adoptee, Dan Matthews (better known as Los Angeles-based musician DANakaDAN), and his biological family in Korea, including a twin brother he never knew existed!

Dan and his production team had the opportunity to travel to Korea in the summer of 2013, during which he attended the International Korean Adoptee Association (IKAA) and underwent the process of being reunited with his family. The documentary follows Dan and his team through the whole process, highlighting the raw emotions of each scene. I had the chance to watch most of the film, and it is an incredible journey to follow. I can guarantee that one moment you’ll be laughing at and along with Dan, and the next you’ll have tears rolling down your cheeks without realizing it.

Held at the Tateuchi Democracy Forum across from the main museum, the two-screening premiere was attended by many people, including Dan’s adopted family. The sold-out screenings were then followed by a Q&A segment moderated by Angry Asian Man Phil Yu. The cast and filmmakers (Dan Matthews, Jason Hwang, Eugene Choi, Jon Maxwell, Ray Huang, Andy Yip, and Sean Ludan) answered a number of questions regarding anything from personal experiences on the trip to production inquiries.


(Source: http://dan-aka-dan.com)


(Source: Philip Bievenu)

After the screenings, attendees made their way to the Aratani Central Hall of the museum for DANakaDAN’s Stuntman album release party, hosted by Amy Okuda and Ki Hong Lee. Kicking off the concert were a number of other YouTube artists performing their hits, including Paul Dateh and Sam Kang. Although the album was not yet released and sold at the event (as it had final preparations to go through, according to a source), Dan still performed a number of hits from the record, which included a number of collaborations with artists such as Priska, Kero One, Paul Kim, and Travis Graham. Judging from those few tracks, I can definitely tell it’s going to be a great album.



(Source: Richard Murakami and Esther Shin blog.janm.org)

The night eventually came to an end, and while volunteers like me scurried around cleaning everything up, many others were still talking about the documentary and Dan’s amazing story. If you’re interested in watching akaDAN, you’re in luck!

The documentary series officially premiered on Thursday March 6. Watch them on the ISAtv YouTube channel.

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