Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Filmaker N.C. Heikin's Critically Acclaimed Kimjongilia Opens in New York City

FILMMAKER N.C. HEIKIN’S CRITICALLY-ACCLAIMED KIMJONGILIA OPENS IN NEW YORK CITY

Kimjongilia is a haunting look at the reality inside the most secretive country in the world. Told from the perspectives of North Korean refugees who shine light on the atrocities taking place in their homeland, and juxtaposed with clips from North Korea's mass propaganda machine that has indoctrinated citizens to worship the North Korean leadership, Kimjongilia is a film that shocks, enlightens and stays with you. –Laura Ling, journalist, held captive in North Korea over five months in 2009.

KIMJONGILIA, The Flower of Kim Jong Il (Lorber Films), is the first film to fully expose the humanitarian crisis of North Korea, examining the mass illusion possible under totalitarianism and the human rights abuses required to maintain that illusion.

North Korea is governed by a totalitarian regime that has controlled all information entering and leaving the country for the sixty years since the conflict with South Korea. A cult of personality surrounds its two leaders: Kim Il-Sung (“Great Leader”), and his son, Kim Jong-Il (“Dear Leader”). For Kim Jong Il’s 46th birthday, a hybrid red begonia named kimjongilia was created, symbolizing wisdom, love, justice, and peace. The film draws its title from the rarefied flower and reveals the extraordinary stories told by survivors of North Korea’s vast prison camps, devastating famine, and every kind of oppression. Filmmaker N.C. Heikin provides a historical backdrop to North Korea’s situation in her deeply moving documentary that examines why defectors fled, gives accounts of their harrowing escapes, and reveals the dangers they face in China, hunted by both Chinese and North Korean police. The refugees, who were interviewed in South Korea, where they now live, come from every walk of life, from child concentration camp inmates to an elite concert pianist. Their stories, however, all speak to repression and the breaking of body-and-soul. In essence, these humble heroes are inspiring, for despite their unimaginable suffering, they continue to hold out hope for a better future. For further information on Kimjongilia, please visit here, or the Facebook Fan page here. For film times and tickets, please visit www.cinemavillage.com.


ABOUT N.C. HEIKIN: A student of dance and theatre at Sarah Lawrence College, N.C. Heikin began working at La Mama Experimental Theatre Club upon graduation, with Wilford Leach and Andrei Serban, among others. There, Heikin created the title role in La Mama’s renowned production, Carmilla as well as a series of interdisciplinary performance pieces, shown in New York City and at theatre festivals around the world. Her performance background is exhibited in the manner in which she has crafted this innovative documentary. In 1986, Heikin began screenwriting with commissions from Paramount and Disney and has since done movies for television and episodic work. Heikin made her film directing debut in 2004, with her prizewinning narrative short, mañana, which debuted on Indiepix in May 2008. Kimjongilia is her first documentary. It received a grant from the Sundance Institute Documentary Film Program and was invited to the Sundance Story & Edit Lab in June 2008. It premiered at Sundance 2009 and has since played in festivals around the world, including the Sarasota Film Festival, San Francisco International Film Festival, Seattle International Film Festival, Docuwest, Hamburg Film Festival, Vancouver International Film Festival, and South Korea’s Pusan International Film Festival.

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