Dates announced for the 13th Pyongyang International Film Festival - Pyongyang, DRPK (North Korea), 20th - 27th September 2012.
N. Korean movie stars - Nalpharam
and Diary of a School Girl.
Koryo Tours has been the official Foreign Representative for the biennial Pyongyang International Film Festival since 2002 when they first submitted their film on the North Korean World Cup football team of 1966 'The Game of Their Lives' to a packed North Korean audience. "It was the first time that the North Koreans had seen just how their fans were received in 1966 - and the first foreign-made documentary about their country to be shown in their country. Myself and director Dan Gordon were pinched by the girls in the hotel restaurant as they wanted us to help get tickets to the best screenings" said Nicholas Bonner, co-producer of the film. "It will be some time before the festival becomes the Cannes of the East but we hope to get one or two film stars for the experience of a lifetime... probably one of the few places they can avoid being mobbed. The motto of the festival is independence, peace and friendship and is a great way of showing locals what is going on in the world of cinema."
Perhaps the festival's biggest achievement was the screening of the British Film 'Bend It Like Beckham' at the festival in 2004 (seen by an audience of 12,000 locals) which cleared the path to make it the first western film to be broadcast nationwide on December 26th 2011. "We spoke to Gurinder Chadha, the Director, who was thrilled her film had been seen by a country who just adore football and of course it was the ideal film to show, full of hope - it has become unbelievably popular in the country and a talking point for everyone.
Koryo Tours director Nicholas Bonner is asking for submissions:
"Ealing Studios, The Goethe Institute and various embassies have all presented films but there is always room for more. Romantic comedy and period dramas are popular and we have managed toshow filmsas diverse as 'Mr Bean', the Swedish horror comedy 'Frostbiten' to the South African drama 'Cry, The Beloved Country' and UK's 'Elizabeth I: The Golden Age',"
Koryo Tours will run an exclusive tour for tourists during the festival and will include screenings of North Korean films such as the classic 'Flower Girl' (very popular in China during the 1970's), a visit to the North Korean film studio with mock up streets and meeting various North Korean film celebrities.
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Note: This could be a great opportunity--one of the very few times Westerners will get in and see firsthand what social engineering looks like.