The film “Twinsters,” which made its world premiere at the SXSW festival in 2015, is a documentary about two twins who were separated soon after birth in Busan and adopted by families in the U.S. and France.
After 25 years unaware of each other’s existence, they find each other through social media.
The story of the vivacious twins Samantha Futerman and Anais Bordier is interspersed with quick cuts, cute graphics, happy music and pastel colors. The twins’ online and offline conversions also appear in the film, which feels more like a fictional work based on a true story than a documentary. It is extremely palatable for a box office audience that shies away from slower-moving narratives.
Samantha Futerman (left) and Anais Bordier pose before a press interview at Art Nine in Seoul. (Atnine Film)
In a way, the film was made possible by not one, but two miraculous coincidences. The first is that Paris-raised fashion student Bordier’s friend had spotted the Los Angeles-based actress Futerman in a YouTube comedy short and a movie trailer, prompting Bordier to reach out.
“The first video I saw her in, it was nothing compared to ‘Oh, you look like this person,’” Bordier recalled as she spoke with reporters at the Art Nine in Seoul. “This time it was really uncanny.”
Bordier said that she felt it was “too crazy” to not try to contact Futerman, but that it took three days for Futerman to respond. “I went through phases,” Bordier said. “‘Maybe she’s not interested,’ ‘No, we’re twins,’ ‘Maybe not’ and ‘She definitely wants to meet me.’”
Luckily, the girls had extremely supportive adoptive families and were working in fields that allowed them to take time off to talk and meet once Futerman did respond. Through DNA tests, the two discovered that they were indeed sisters. They traveled to Korea together to try to meet their birth mother, but their respective adoption agencies said that the mother, when contacted, denied ever having them.
The second coincidence that made “Twinsters” possible is that Futerman is an actress, who already had experience with video blogging and filming. As soon as Anais got in touch, she immediately began filming her thoughts on videos and recording their Skype conversations, from the very first awkward conversation.
“Less than two weeks after (Bordier’s) message, we made the decision together to move forward and really document the experience,” Futerman said. “(The first recording) was just two days after I got her message. I made a video blog, so it was a great beginning to the story. Just by taking a screenshot of her Facebook, it was the first documentation of everything that was going on.”
Anais Bordier (left) and Samantha Futerman pose before a press interview at Art Nine in Seoul. (Atnine Film)
Funded by a Kickstarter campaign that featured a snippet of their first Skype conversation, “Twinsters” was created by a small, young team that includes co-director Ryan Miyamoto. Futerman is credited as the first director. They tried to keep everything as authentic as possible.
“We wanted to choose scenes or experiences that were remarkable or representative fully (of the moment),” Futerman said. “If we put another scene in and it didn’t feel like what had been going on, we lost the excitement … we would take it out to heighten the emotions.”
Now, three years after they first met, Bordier and Futerman have gone back to leading their lives in Paris and the U.S. “I think nationality is a hard thing (to figure out),” Futerman said when asked if they had any plans to live together. “But we are working together from separate countries, and that’s an amazing thing.”
While continuing to pursue her acting career, Futerman began the non-profit Kindred Foundation for Adoption, which will be holding its first big gala in New York next month. “(Bordier) has designed a gift for our attendees. We want to spread positivity in the adoption community,” she said.
Meanwhile, Bordier is working as a designer with her family’s luxury leather goods brand while pursuing an MBA in luxury brand marketing and international management.
Although their everyday lives have moved beyond the film, the twins said that they felt as if they were reliving the experience “every time” they watched it.
“Being in Korea, it’s really exciting. It’s really important to us that this is our homeland, and we’re returning here to share our story,” Futerman said.
“There’s always the chance that someone in our family will see it, and see that we’re doing well.”
“Hello, we’re happy!” Bordier exclaimed.
“Twinsters” opens in local theaters on Thursday.
By Won Ho-jung (firstname.lastname@example.org