Heejoo Gwen Kim


Heejoo Gwen Kim works as an experimental animated filmmaker, new media arts, and educator currently creating projects focusing on social issues, such as microaggressions, feminism, elder abuse, and human trafficking in experimental narrative film structures. She holds MFA degrees from The School of Art Institute of Chicago (MFA in Film, Video, New Media and Animation) and The University of Illinois at Chicago (New Media Arts) and BFA degrees from The School of Art Institute of Chicago (Art and Technology Studies) and Hongik University (Painting and Drawing).

Her films and installations have been internationally presented at festivals and galleries in Germany, UK, Lebanon, Mexico, Bulgaria, Turkey, France, Philippine, India, Latvia, Canada, Korea, Italy, Ecuador, and throughout the United States. Her films have received awards including Best Animation, Best Experimental Film, and Best of Show at several international film festivals. She had been a director, curator, an adjudicator for International Animation + New Media Art festivals, conferences, and shows.

Currently she is teaching at University of Connecticut. She previously taught at The University of Montana in Media Arts, The School of Art Institute of Chicago in Art and Technology Studies, Bowling Green State University in Digital Art, and Columbia College Chicago in Interactive Arts and Media.

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Artist Statement

Hidden is an experimental animated documentary film intended to reveal the hidden physical and emotional crisis of elder abuse by presenting a personal experience of impairment and exploitation, based on real stories of people with dementia. While physical abuse is the most talked about type of abuse in elder abuse, this film demonstrates more subtle forms of caregiver neglect and self-abuse due to fear or loss of confidence. It also goes beyond the symptoms of the problem to include a happy ending, when the main character discovers that her friendships and experiences are more important than her belongings or her memory loss.