A doorbell rings. The screen goes aflutter as Pastor Lee Jong-rak hurries to a metal box in the wall of his house in Seoul, South Korea. Inside the box is a newborn who has just been abandoned by his mother.
“The Drop Box” is a documentary film produced by Kindred Image and promoted by Focus on the Family. It will be shown in theaters across the country March 3-5. A heart wrenching celebration of the dignity and value of every human life, the film tells the story of Jong-rak’s mission, rescuing children left to die on the streets of Seoul.
“Human beings are not to be thrown away -- they’re not to be abandoned,” Jong-rak said through an interpreter at a screening of the film at the Heritage Foundation on Wednesday. “Every life is so precious -- more than the entire world.”
The project began in 2011 when the film’s director Brian Ivie, then a junior at the University of Southern California, read about Jong-rak’s story in the Los Angeles Times. Making contact with Jong-rak through the Times’ correspondent in Seoul, Ivie asked “I’d like to make a movie about your life -- can that happen?”
“A month later, I got an email back from him -- clearly a google-translated email,” Ivie said at the screening. “It said this: ‘I don’t know what it means to make a documentary film of my life exactly, but you can come live with me if you want.’”
When dropped off, many of the babies suffer from mental or physical disabilities. Rejected by society, Jong-rak accepts the children into his home to care for them until a new home is available. He has permanently adopted 15.
"The fight for life is more than just political,” John Stonestreet, host of BreakPoint radio, wrote in response to the film. “In so many ways, it’s decided in the cultural imagination -- and heroes like this provide the inspiration we need to replace cultures that spawned Kermit Gosnell, sewer pipes, child abandonment and forced abortions with a culture that looks more like the home of Pastor Lee Jong-rak."
Since Jong-rak built the baby box, 140 of the abandoned children have been reclaimed by their birth parents.
“After watching this, if you look away, they surely will just die away,” Jong-rak said.
Again, the film will be shown in theaters early next month. Tickets can be purchased on The Drop Box film’s website.