Thursday, April 29, 2010

N.C. Heikin's Kimjongilia builds on acclaim from Sundance & New York, winning One World Best Human Rights Documentary Film Award

N.C. Heikin's Kimjongilia builds on acclaim from Sundance & New York, winning One World Best Human Rights Documentary Film Award
April 29, 2010
Recently, the 2010 One World Festival Brussels, in partnership with The Human Rights and Democracy Network (HRDN) , unanimously awarded Best Film of 2010 to Kimjongilia by filmmaker N.C. Heikin. Following its screening at the European Parliament, Kimjongilia was awarded the prestigious honor, crediting its artistic quality and compelling, powerful message about the human rights abuses in North Korea. The prize was presented by HRDN jurors during the closing ceremony of the festival at the Czech Permanent Representation.

Juror Catherine Absalom, of The International Federation of Human Rights said, “This elegantly beautiful film is an anguished cry for help which cannot be ignored. Emotion overwhelms the viewer in the face of trying testimonies from the rare exiles of the world's most isolated and hermetic state, and the most devoid of human rights. ‘Listen to us’, demands a survivor of these terrible, secretive camps. I have only one response ‘YES’.”

HRDN brought together a jury of specialists to choose the prize winner among this year’s entries in Brussels. HRDN since 2009, has been involved in the Brussels film screenings and ensuing debates of the One World Festival. Founded by former Czech president Václav Havel, The One World Festival in Prague, is where Kimjongilia was screened to packed houses. This fourth Belgian festival, under the prestigious patronage of European Parliament President Jerzy Buzek, has given the public an opportunity to discover a selection of eighteen documentaries from the Prague festival treating the subjects of human rights violations, denial of political rights and impunity that prevail in different parts of the world.

ABOUT KIMJONGILIA: Kimjongilia The Flower of Kim Jong Il (Lorber Films) is the first film to fully expose the humanitarian crisis of North Korea. The film 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 and 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 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. These humble heroes are inspiring, for despite their unimaginable suffering, they continue to hold out hope for a better future. For further information, please visit, or the Facebook fan page.

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. 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. Heikin made her film directing debut in 2004 with her prizewinning narrative short, mañana, which debuted on Indiepix in May 2008. Kimjongilia, her first documentary, 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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