By MIKEY HIRANO CULROSS, Rafu Arts & Entertainment
If one intended purpose of the Internet is to bring together those long separated by space and time, then this story is confirmation of success.
“Twinsters,” screening this Saturday as part of the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival, documents how two sisters, separated at birth when they were independently adopted out of their native South Korea, are reunited online, then in person.
“I was checking my Facebook friend requests,” explained co-director and actor Samantha Futerman. “Suddenly, there was someone asking to be friends and I saw my own face.”
Initially dismissing it as some kind of creepy ruse, she later decided to look into the matter further, only to discover that this woman – with the same birth date and place – was indeed a real person, living in France.
That person was fashion design student Anaïs Bordier, and after some emailing back and forth, the two met in person. A subsequent DNA test confirmed that they were identical twins.
“As an adoptee, I never had a role model, no one say, ‘Hey, you’re just like me,’” Futerman said.
The startling revelation prompted Futerman, now 27, to launch a Kickstarter campaign to make a film about the story she and her sister share. Along the way, she enlisted the help of cinematographer Ryan Miyamoto, a Hawaii native who heard the story and hopped on a plane to meet Futerman in Los Angeles.
“This kind of story just doesn’t fall into your lap every day,” Miyamoto told The Rafu.
Miyamoto’s assignment was to document, as openly as possible, the reuniting of the sisters. As shooting continued, Futerman became so involved that Miyamoto took over some of the directing duties and shared credit on the finished film.
“Once we got to London,” he explained, “Sam was not only directing, she was experiencing a life-changing event.”
Futerman, whose acting credits include “Memoirs of a Geisha” and “21 & Over,” said after the release of “Twinsters” last year, she and her sister have heard from scores of Korean adoptees, some of whom have found their own far-flung family members.
“We’re doing a lot of outreach,” Futerman said, “Because really, the truth is that no matter where you are, family has no boundaries.”
“Twinsters” screens at 5 p.m. Saturday at the Aratani Theatre in Little Tokyo, with a Q&A session with the filmmakers to follow. An additional screening will take place at 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday, April 28, at the CGV Cinemas 2 in Koreatown. For more information, visit laapff.festpro.com.