Screening: The Defector – Escape from North Korea + Q&A
This screening will be followed by a Q&A with director Ann Shin.
As the leadership in North Korea changes and Kim Jong-un takes the helm, a man who goes by the name of Dragon smuggles North Korean defectors across borders. His latest trip with two women, Sook-Ja and Yong-hee, takes an unexpected turn when they are left stranded in China. This is only the beginning of an extraordinary 5,000 km journey. Their story reflects the reality of tens of thousands of North Koreans currently in hiding in China.
Dragon sees himself as a human rights activist, whilst acknowledging that many people look poorly on brokers who charge defectors money for freedom. His work is illegal and his true motivations questionable, but many defectors come to him to seek an escape from China and a world of uncertainty. A North Korean defector himself, Dragon was once part of a commando unit that trained under then President Kim Jong-il. The experience has enabled him to assist hundreds of North Korean defectors.
Korean-Canadian filmmaker Ann Shin gains intimate access with these three individuals, taking the journey alongside them while filming undercover and navigating the risk of exposing the defectors and their guide. Beautifully shot, with a compelling high-stakes story, The Defector poses broad questions around human smuggling and the pursuit of freedom. The film has been selected for 20 international festivals and has been nominated for 7 awards, winning the Canadian Digi Awards and the FITC Awards.
Directed by Ann Shin