North Korea? No one can really tell what is going on there… except the ones who escape Pyongyang dictatorship and reached the south.


The project





A few months ago, I read an article about Hanawon, in South Korea. The journalist describes the Korean centre where refugees from the North try to adapt to our society and Culture: Fashion, Facebook, competition spirit, English… How to survive in a totally unknown world? How to understand this new way of life, which is seemingly nonsense and the complete opposite of their norm?


I began to try to imagine what it must be to be propelled into the 21st century after an entire life in the most closed country on earth… I began my research on the subject, but after several weeks without success, I realised that the project may be unrealizable at my current level of experience in filmmaking.


That is, until March when a conference was organized by my Erasmus University in York. “Why has the world abandoned North Korea? » Naively, I thought I knew the answer… “Because of the nuclear weapon, no?”. Instead, the speakers’ well-supported arguments served as a strong critique of the situation and showed that the question is still relevant today…


One speaker, Byul Ryan-Im concluded her presentation by saying that “nothing is made to let the refugees talk about their stories: what they lived in Hanawon, what they find in the South.”

It may sound slightly utopian but I took it as a sign and decided to talk to her about my project! Byul agreed to help me and, so, I arrived back to my research.


After some hesitation, I finally made my choice: I will film my third movie in South Korea. 


Why does this documentary seem important to me?  


Today, in South Korea, thousands of Northern refugees try to escape from their country to start a new life. Indeed, Pyongyang is known for its disrespect of the human rights. However, few people realize the concrete consequences of a regime that based its survival on an authoritarian politic. 





The documentary I want to make will let the refugees tell their stories, their daily lives under the Kim Jung‘s dictatorship, their escape to the south, their arrival in Hanawon and the discovery of a totally new world.


Through these testimonies and interviews of specialists, I want to show how severe the consequences of Kim Jung Un’s regime are for the respect of human rights. Moreover, I want to understand why the international community doesn’t intervene more than they are obliged to.  


That’s why I have begun my third crowd founding collection.



After,  "Amerindians, another Brazil. " (no subtitles) 





And "1949, How to legiferate prostitution ? " (subtitles) 




I hope you will give me the opportunity to realize "Hanawon", here an extract of the film plan : 




" Name: Hanawon.

Subject: Vision of the Korean situation by the North-Korean refugees.

Dates:  April 2013 – November 2014.

Budget: 3000 pounds.


People contacted (may accept to help) 

-       Byul Ryan-Im: (Junior research fellow at Sino NK) - Youth activist

-       Joanne Hosaniak: Deputy General Citizens Alliance for NK Human rights.

-       Adam Cathcart: (Lecturer in China-North Korean relations, University of Leeds) - History expert

-       John Everard.


People to find:

-       2 political specialists.

-       1 historian: 

-        1 Human Right Watch speaker: 

-       1 psychologist working in an association for refugees.

-       1 Korean politician.

-       At least 4 refugees.

-       A representative of the UN.

-       Some North Koreans.





Synopsis: The documentary would explain the actual situation of the North Korean refugees and the reasons why the world has abandoned the idea of an intervention.


1.     Introduction.


The first part would clarify the unprecedented situation lived by the refugees.


=> The first interview: A refugee talks about a situation occurred as a result of his arrival in the south and the discovery of a completely different universe.

- We discover him first going through his daily life. (No explanation except his voice)

- Images of the extract of the interview begin.

- Images of landscapes without soundtrack.

(//women are heroes)


=> The second interview shows that despite the absurdity of the adaptation situation difficulties arise quickly. The second speaker tells a darker story than the first one. 

- Images of the interview.

- Everyday images.

- Images of the city.



=> Credits.

Use of drawings?

(// Pray the devil back in hell)

(// Human Right Watch advertises)



=> Contextualization.

The film begins with historical explanations of the political situation.

-       Images of pre-war archives. (Very fast: introductory phrase of the historian)

-       Excerpt from the interview of the historian.

-       Archive Footage of the Korean War.

-       (Transition from the historian point of view to the political specialist interview: just the voices).

-       Political explanation: images of the actual city/life in South Korea.

-       Excerpt from Cathcart interview:  "Why so much acceptance from the West? What future for North Korea and its people?"

-       Images of South Korea. (Emblematic images of the problem: posters, associations, tele etc?)




Why fund it?






Itinerary: 1200 euros. 

I want to go to South Korea and travel in the country to be able to give a more complete picture of the situation.


Cameras and material: 0 euros. 

I already have my own camera and Zoom so I don’t need more.


Accommodations: 0 euros. 

As usual, I will use Couch Surfing to be hosted, I hope, by awesome people like in my past travels.


Daily life: 1000 euros. 

This part of the budget concerns food, translation and daily life needs.




I was warned “ Journalism? There are no job opportunities for new graduates… and it’s dangerous! » I was almost convinced. Then, four years ago, I stumbled about a documentary that will change my life. Revelation. It was the wake-up call I needed, what made me follow my dream of travelling filming what means a lot to me. It can seem weird to introduce... See more

Newest comments

Projet passionnant. C'est vraiment une idée intéressante et courageuse.
J'accepterai volontiers un verre dès que je rentre à Paris! Ton très dévoué, Antoine
Go go go Lea, je trouve formidable qu'une jeune fille brillante comme toi s'intéresse à des sujets tels que celui ci. Fais du bon boulot, là bas et reviens vite nous faire partager !! Helene