World premier at CPH: Dox Copenhagen in competition for the Next: Wave award
UK Premiere Sheffield Doc/Fest
Commissioned by Guardian & Doc Fest
A 25’ stylised documentary with exclusive access to the largest community of North Korean defectors in the world (outside of Korea itself). The film unveils the depths of loss, longing and legacy in the rich array of stories amongst those who have escaped their homeland to live in a leafy London suburb, with a focus on a particular defector who is struggling to leave behind his homeland.
The film explores how, as a North Korean, Joong-wha Choi feels that he is caught between heaven and hell having escaped his homeland. Formerly a soldier in the DPRK army, today he lives with his wife and kids, and despite enjoying the comforts of his British life, he cannot forget those he left behind. Resolute to run a mission to save North Korea, his dilemma lies in a desire to return to the land that betrayed him, yet feels like his true home.
At a time when the world is wrapped up in the exchanges of pomp and bravado between two theatrical but powerful world leaders, we recognise the voices of the North Korean defectors on Britain’s doorstep. Marrying a stylised master interview with observational actuality footage and constructed sequences all drawing on North Korean aesthetic and design, the film meaningfully considers an often dehumanised culture and identity.
Director Roxy Rezvany
Producers Roxy Rezvany, Matt Diegan, Aya Kaido
Associate Producers Al Lewis, Sophie Perrins
DOP Beatriz Sastre
Editor Christian Sandino-Taylor
Composer Matt Huxley
Colourist Tim Smith at Electric Theatre Collective
Production Designer Kat Hawker
Set Designer Louis Gibson
Executive Producers Charlie Phillips, Lindsay Poulton, Nick Fraser, Lawrence Elman