Documentary explores China’s one-child policy and its implications for American adoptees


Since 1989, American families have adopted 80,000 girls from China.

The documentary Somewhere Between, directed by Linda Goldstein Knowlton, follows four of those adoptees as they discover the cultural differences between the United States and their homeland.

The award-winning film will premiere at Augustana at 6 p.m. Friday, Oct. 26, in the Gilbert Science Center Auditorium.

Collaboration between the Sioux Falls independent film organization Cinema Falls and Augustana’s UBG and Civitas honors program will make the event possible.

Cinema Falls is a local organization that brings indie and foreign films to Sioux Falls that would otherwise never be shown in the area.

Augustana senior Jenny Brown, an intern for Cinema Falls, said that getting young people in Sioux Falls interested in indie films, whether through UBG or any other group at Augustana, is one of the goals of the organization.

Junior Amanda Johnson, co-chair of UBG Film, said that the event is a big deal. She is looking forward to working with Cinema Falls and Civitas to make the showing a success.

The event is part of a yearlong focus on issues involving China and globalization. “When Cinema Falls contacted us about running the film, we decided it was perfect for the academic framework,” Civitas director Jeffrey Miller said.

Somewhere Between focuses on four Chinese girls, Haley, Jenna, Fang and Ann, as they learn about issues of gender, race and identity while living with their American families. Through their journey, they uncover their heritage, gaining self-awareness beyond other girls their age.

“A film like this one, about identity and family, is the kind of conversation that should be happening in a dynamic academic community,” Cinema Falls director Julie Anderson Friesen said. “As the result of China’s one-child policy, I think many of us know people whose lives have been enriched, blessed and changed forever through their trip to China to adopt a daughter.”

According to Friesen, much of the success of the group effort to bring the film to Sioux Falls is credited to Miller, who has personal ties to the adoption community.

“He was the connector and true collaborator and deserves a lot of credit,” she said. “We both wanted this film to find the right venue and audience, and he truly made that happen.”

The public event will attract members of the adoption community, as well as people interested in learning more about gender acceptance in Chinese culture.

“We think that people from around the five-state region will attend, “Miller said. “This is a great way to bring the community together. We are excited and hopeful for a big turnout.”

“It wouldn’t surprise me if foreign exchange students show up,” Jenny Brown said. “I also hope that many other students show up just to learn about the one-child policy of China and adoption in general.”

UBG and Civitas are working to get posters up around campus to advertise the event. Johnson also said that the groups will be putting up posters at local restaurants and businesses around Sioux Falls.

Friesen is confident about the showing and said she looks forward to working with Miller, UBG and the Augustana community in the future.

“This is an award-winning documentary, so anyone who loves quality indie film should be there,” Friesen said. “I am convinced it will have an unforgettable impact for all who see it.”

There will be a 20-30 minute discussion following the film.

The event is free to anyone with an Augustana ID and to Cinema Falls season passholders. General admission is $5.