According to director Lee Min-yong, this was a watershed year for the North Korean Human Rights International Film Festival, which was launched in 2011 to inform the world of the gross human rights violations occurring in North Korea.
This year, filmmakers started to focus on the lives of North Koreans in the South post-defection. “They looked into the defector community here, their torn sense of identity, and the hardship of trying to fit into a very modern and very different society.”
A record number of films offered diverse perspectives on the lives of both North Koreans and defectors.
For example, Kim Tae-woong’s short film “The Regular Hire” tells the story of a 24-year-old defector who has lived 16 years in Korea and struggles to be a normal office worker.
Two foreign films shot inside North Korea also gave the film fest a significant boost this year: David Kinsella’s “The Wall,” a computer graphic-infused story of a girl from Pyongyang who wants to be a poet, and Vitaly Mansky’s “Under the Sun,” a documentary which follows a North Korean family training to be ideal patriots.