'The Drop Box' for Unwanted Babies: Award-Winning Film Unfolds Korean Pastor's Life-Saving Mission

By Rachel Liu, Crossmap On March 2, 2013

screenshot / The Drop Box trailer

"The Drop Box," a heartwarming documentary directed by 22-year-old Brian Ivie, was awarded the grand prize for "Best Of Festival" at the 2013 San Antonio Independent Christian Film Festival (SAICFF).

The 72-minute documentary, which also took home "Sanctity of Life Award," tells a story of a South Korean pastor Lee Jong-rak, who built a wooden box on the side of his house to receive disabled, unwanted babies in Seoul, the nation's capital city where Pastor Lee leads Jusarang Community Church.

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The "drop box," built into a wall on his house, is available 24 hours a day with a sign that reads "A place to leave babies."

Inside the box, there are blankets and towels to keep the baby warm, and when a baby is placed in the box, a bell rings to notify Pastor Lee, his wife and staff workers at Jusarang Orphanage, who then will feed and clothes the baby. 

"These kids are not mistakes. They are important," Ivie said in his acceptance speech of the award.

"I became a Christian while making this movie. When I started to make it and I saw all these kids come through the drop box – it was like a flash from heaven, just like these kids with disabilities had crooked bodies, I have a crooked soul. And God is a father who loves me still," he continued.

"When it comes to this sanctity of life issue, we must realize that that faith in God is the only refuge for people who are deemed unnecessary. This world is so much about self-reliance, self-worth, and self-esteem. It's a total illusion that we can be self-sufficient. Christ is the only thing that enables us."

“[I saw] all these kids come through this dropbox with deformities and disabilities, and eventually — like a heaven flash — I realized that I was one of those kids too; that I have a crooked soul, and God is a father who loves me still,” the director said.

Among many unspeakable stories in the film, one of the mothers who dropped her baby said  that "she had poison to kill both herself and her baby." Pastor Lee told her, "Don't do that. Come here with your baby."

"Globally, there are babies that die due to abandonment," Lee said.

On the streets of Seoul, around 600 babies and children are abandoned yearly.

Only about 20 percent of those that are abandoned end up in child protective services, according to reports, says The Christian Post.

"I deified movies for 21 years of my life, and I made them my god, and it failed me," Ivie said.

"I'm done with that story. I'm done with that idol. And I promise in the fear of God that I will steward this investment, because I would rather tell the plainest truth with $100,000 than the most sophisticated technological lie with ten million dollars or one hundred million dollars."

“This world is so much about self-reliance and self-esteem, self-worth, and these kids . . . can’t be self-reliant, because they have these disabilities. The total illusion is that we can be self-reliant, because we rely on God for every breath that we take. And the day that we stop realizing that we are disabled is the day that we stop fighting for Christ as the only one who enables.”

Judge Stephen Kendrick, producer of Christian films Fireproof and Courageous, commented on "The Drop Box," saying,

“We [as the judges] talked about how Nehemiah heard about the walls being broken down and was so broken by it that he said, ‘I must go and do something about that.’ . . . Many times, we are moved with compassion and do nothing. [Ivie] saw an article and said, ‘I am going to run to the battle.’”

“We saw in this young man someone who loved life so much; that loved the truth; that was willing to defend those that no one cares about and wants to get rid of," judge Curtis Bowers, who won ‘Best of Festival’ in 2010 for his film Agenda, said.

"If he’s that passionate about that in a movie that he didn’t know if it’s ever going to make money or not . . . we could tell: That’s a young man we want to invest in, because he’s going to change the world with his films.”

The film crew is currently in studio negotiations for a 2013 release of "The Drop Box," according to CP. The film's release date has not yet been announced.