DISCOVERY & ADOPTION: JONI MANTELL PRESENTS THE HANJI BOX + DICUSSION WITH DIRECTOR NORA JACOBSON AWARD WINNING FILM EXPLORES RACIAL IDENTITY AND CULTURE

– Joni Mantell, Director and Founder of the Infertility and Adoption Counseling (IAC) Center in Pennington, NJ and film director Nora Jacobson, will present the award-winning film The Hanji Box, 7:00 PM, Saturday, November 4th at Hopewell Theatre.

“The film explores the complexity of the parent child relationship in adoption, identity issues for both the adopted daughter and her adoptive mother, transracial family adoption issues, as well as general mother-daughter and divorce family themes,” says Mantell, a psychotherapist in practice for over 25 years, and frequent writer and “Ask the Expert” contributor to Adoptive Families magazine.

Mantell indicates that she was immediately drawn into the complex relationships and personal journeys each of the characters navigate. Mantell and Jacobson connected in late 2016 and began to discuss how to use the film to educate members of the adoption constellation, pre-adoptive parents, adoption agencies, social workers and teachers.

Dealing with adoption and cultural identity issues typically creates additional developmental tasks for adoptees indicates Mantell.  “Balancing interracial and cultural identities; and resolving the losses experienced by all members of the adoption constellation can be profound and challenging. Frequently unspoken feelings and unresolved issues come to the surface in this film in thought-provoking and conversation stimulating ways.”

The Hanji Box is based on the true story of a mother of two international adoptees who begins a surprise journey of exploration, loss, identity and connection while seeking her children’s birth family in Korea.  Jacobson says that she traveled to Korea to immerse herself in the culture and people, returned home and wrote a script originally casting Amy Irving as the adoptive mother.

However, after losing most of her financial backing during the “great recession” the director decided to film in the US and revised the script ultimately filming the story in Vermont as well as various Korean American communities in the New York metropolitan area. These include restaurant scenes at Dongbang Grill in Fort Lee, NJ, gallery scenes at the Dongwha Cultural Foundation in Englewood Cliffs, NJ and street scenes in Flushing, NY and 32nd street in Manhattan, both active business and cultural centers of Korean American life.

The film has been invited to seven film festivals, has won Best Feature Screenplay at the 2017 New York Eurasian Film Festival, and now available on Amazon Prime.

Jacobson, a professional filmmaker based in Vermont indicates that she was initially intrigued by the circular joining of two cultures associated with international adoption.

“The film explores the concept of ‘otherness’ and we purposely developed a narrative that is open-ended rather than a dominating force in the film,” says Jacobson. “The issue of international adoption is too emotional and fraught with human emotions: motherhood, family, birthing for absolute answers. Instead the film allows viewers to make their own conclusions. “

“The Hanji Box’s focus on the adoptive parent’s journey, the metaphor of the broken box and its multiple meanings to the parent and her teen daughter – is so deep and poetic in its symbolic richness,” shares Mantell.

“The Hanji Box is a sensitive, accurate, educational and engrossing film. As someone who is both an adoptive parent and a long-time professional in the field of adoption and foster care, I found it deeply touching. It triggered much thought about the challenges that each adopted person and adoptive parent must address,” shares Sharon Kaplan Roszia, MS., a nationally and internationally known author, speaker and consultant on adoption and permanency issues

The viewing will be followed by post film discussion with Director Nora Jacobson and Joni S. Mantell. The film and discussion afterward promise to be meaningful to the audience no matter which character or aspect of adoption or family life they relate to.

Hopewell Theater is located at 5 South Greenwood Avenue, Hopewell, NJ.  Tickets can be purchased at the theater box office, by phone 609-466-1964 or online at www.HopewellTheater.com.

The Hanji Box will be presented at the Hopewell Theater (in New Jersey) in partnership with The Infertility and Adoption Counseling Center (IAC Center), which provides Pre-and Post-Adoption Counseling for all adoption constellation members at multiple points in the life cycle. Learn more about IAC Center by calling 609-737-8750, emailing jmantellmsw@iaccenter.com, or visiting https://iaccenter.com/.

IAC understand the complexity of the journey and the rewards.

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