Two practical questions about North Korea.
October 22, 2007 7:26 PM   Subscribe

Two related questions about North Korea: (1) Can anyone point me to a distributor, collector, or other source of North Korean films, either on DVD/VHS or (ideally) on film? (2) How would I go about directing a letter there?

I am looking into programming a series of North Korea films for my University film society.

Though I know of at least one source of North Korean movies on video, it would be vastly preferable to find some on film - part of our mission is to present things on film whenever possible. If anyone has any ideas on where to find some, I'd be tremendously grateful.

Information about any other DVD/video sources would also be really helpful.

As part of my attempt, I'd also like to try writing a letter to the North Korean government (or maybe some other entity - I need to do some research) asking about any films they might be willing to let us show. Kim Jong-il is said to be a big cinephile (he even wrote a treatise - pdf on cinema and directing), so it seems worth a shot at the very least (plus, our film society started out back in the '30's showing nothing but socialist documentaries, so we've got some common ground).

The problem with this plan: I have no idea how to get a letter delivered North Korea. My sister is in Japan with some regularity, so mailing it from there could be an option - though geographic proximity probably doesn't translate directly into easier access...

Any suggestions will be greatly appreciated!
posted by bubukaba to Media & Arts (7 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
My guess is that it'd be very difficult for you to get a letter directly to someone in the North Korean government. However, you could try writing to the Korean Friendship Association and asking what films they have available. The KFA are a pro-DPRK group in the West whose activities include promotion of the Juche movement and organizing trips to North Korea. They seem a bit shady, but I'm sure they'd be overjoyed to help distribute some DPRK films if they have any. The KFA even has an online store selling some DVDs and videos, so there's one option.

Another option could include writing to one of the DPRK embassies. There aren't any in the US, as you might imagine, but there are some in a few Asian and European countries - they definitely have embassies in China and Sweden.

The DPRK's a fascinating place - I had the pleasure of crossing the North Korean border once myself(and not at the DMZ)! Keep us posted on anything you find.
posted by pravit at 8:05 PM on October 22, 2007

I also wanted to mention the KFA seems to have fairly close ties with the North Korean government, so sending a letter/request through them is probably your best bet. I'm thinking you would never hear back from embassies.
posted by pravit at 8:14 PM on October 22, 2007

Koryo Tours has long ties with North Korea and have cooperated on several documentaries covering North Korean topics.
posted by msittig at 9:31 PM on October 22, 2007

I'd send it care of the DPRK mission to the UN in New York. Here's an address.
posted by Brian James at 9:41 PM on October 22, 2007

you could always contact this guy.
posted by be11e at 9:44 PM on October 22, 2007 [1 favorite]

Be careful about writing to a government deemed by our State Department to be a supporter of terrorism and charter member of the Axis of Evil. Seems like you might get put on some kind of no-fly list or have all your communications surveilled by NSA.

I ran across a website recently with many North Korean films that can be streamed. Kim Jong Il is a huge fan of American cinema and invests lots of cash into the North Korean film industry (rather than into food production--but hey, the man needs his shits and giggles). I'll try to find the link and post it for you.
posted by HotPatatta at 10:03 PM on October 22, 2007

Youtube has quite a few NK propaganda films.
posted by electroboy at 7:56 AM on October 23, 2007

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