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network 10/03/2016 - 08:00PM

Min Sook Lee wins CP’s 2016 Alanis Obomsawin Award

On March 30, 2016, Cinema Politica was privileged and honoured to award Toronto-based documentary filmmaker and activist Min Sook Lee with an award inspired by the lifework of our dear friend and world-renowned trailblazer Alanis Obomsawin. 
Ms. Obomsawin is an Abenaki filmmaker who has made 50 documentaries with the National Film Board of Canada since she began her career in 1972 with her first film, CHRISTMAS AT MOOSE FACTORY. She has built much more than a respected and celebrated career - Ms. Obomsawin has changed lives, policies and the future for countless Indigenous communities across Canada through her ongoing, unstoppable and inimitable commitment to the subjects whose lives and struggles she features in her documentary work. 
With this award we seek to honour a dedicated filmmaker who has followed in Ms. Obomsawin’s path, and after an initial call for suggested applicants and several rounds of deliberation, our judges decided upon Min Sook Lee. Lee is a Korean-born, Toronto-based, self-taught documentary filmmaker, organizer and educator whose filmography tackles everything from toxins in our everyday environment to the politics of policing to explorations of a divided Korea to migrant worker rights. It is on this last topic that Lee’s work—both behind the camera and in the community—has inspired and enlightened us the most. From earlier films like EL CONTRATO to her about-to-be-released MIGRANT DREAMS, Lee’s lens has been fiercely focused on some of Canada’s most vulnerable and exploited: migrant workers. Her films offer a sensitive, empathic and empowering view of people who live and work in Canada, but who are disenfranchised through policy, oppressed by economic systems and either made invisible or vilified by mainstream media and culture. Her dedication to not only exposing the injustices that migrant workers face, but also her collaboration with groups like Justice for Migrant Workers amounts to efforts more than worthy of our cherished Alanis Obomsawin Award for Commitment to Community and Resistance.
Congratulations Min Sook Lee and we look forward to future films and actions! 

Read about the award here and watch an artist talk with Min Sook Lee here.


About Min Sook Lee: Min Sook Lee is an award winning filmmaker with a diverse and prolific portfolio of multimedia work.  

Min Sook has directed numerous critically acclaimed documentaries, including:  MY TOXIC BABY – a study of toxins in baby products, TIGER SPIRIT – an examination of the division of the two Koreas shot on both sides of the border (Winner: Donald Brittain Gemini Award for Best Social/Political Documentary), HOGTOWN – an analysis of the intersection of policing and municipal politics (Winner: Best Feature-length Canadian Documentary award at Hot Docs Festival); BADGE OF PRIDE – a discovery of gay cops in Toronto – and EL CONTRATO – a look at the lives of migrant farm workers in Canada (nominated for the Donald Brittain Gemini). Min Sook recently released the THE REAL INGLORIOUS BASTARDS, (Winner: Best History Documentary, Canadian Screen Awards) a documentary about Jewish spies behind enemy lines during WWII.

Min Sook is an Assistant Professor at the Ontario College of Art and Design University where she teaches Art and Social Change. Her research and teaching focuses on the intersections of labour, border politics, migration, art, & social change.

Min Sook is a recipient of the Cesar E. Chavez Black Eagle Award for EL CONTRATO'S impact on the rights of migrant workers. Canada’s oldest labour arts festival, Mayworks Festival has named the MIN SOOK LEE LABOUR ARTS AWARD in her honour.  The award recognizes outstanding contributions to the arts and labour movement.


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