Min Sook has called our community of Toronto-Danforth home for over 12 years. It’s where she lives with her partner John who works as a carpenter, and their two young children. She is an award-winning documentary filmmaker, an educator and a community organizer.
Min Sook was born in South Korea and her family immigrated to Toronto when she was 3 years old. She grew up working behind the counter of her family’s convenience store. She learned early on that in order to thrive she would need to speak up. Like so many of us, she didn’t see herself reflected in the media or in positions of power. She began organizing as a teenager to speak out about social justice issues impacting her community.
Min Sook learned grassroots organizing as a member of Youth Against Apartheid, to build solidarity with the freedom movement in South Africa. She has worked with groups like CUPE, the International Women’s Day committee, Mayworks Festival of Working People and the Arts and CKLN community radio.
Today, Min Sook is a professor at OCAD University. She uses the classroom to talk to young artists about the powerful ways that art can make positive change. She is the faculty lead on the development of a new program of study, ‘Art & Social Change’, the first of its kind in the world. As a member of the university senate, she plays a critical role in the governance of the institution.
Over the past two decades Min Sook has made 8 feature documentaries. She uses art, advocacy and education as a bridge for people to better understand each other across differences and to build common ground to work together. Min Sook has worked with partners like the National Film Board of Canada, CBC, History Television and TVO on stories about Korean reunification, Jewish resistance during WWII and municipal government. Her films have united people in action across this country and have had direct impact on people’s lives. Her most recent documentary, Migrant Dreams, is used as an educational and mobilizing tool to build justice for migrant workers in Canada.
Awards and Honours
2017 Canadian Association of Journalists Award for Labour Reporting for Migrant Dreams.
2017 Canadian Hillman Prize for Journalism for Migrant Dreams
2016 Cinema Politica Alanis Obomsawin Award for Commitment to Community and Resistance
2014 Winner, Canadian Screen Award – Best History Documentary for The Real Inglorious Bastards
2012 Induction of the ‘Min Sook Lee Labour Arts Award’ presented by Mayworks Festival of Working People and the Arts
2009 Winner of the Donald Brittain Award for Best Social/Political Documentary Program for Tiger Spirit
2007 Recipient of the Cesar E. Chavez Black Eagle Award, presented by the United Farm Workers of America
2005 Winner of Best Canadian Feature Length Documentary Award, Hot Docs Festival for Hogtown: the Politics of Policing