KIMJONGILIA

October 17, 2010, 6:00 P.M.

The Ray Stark Family Theatre, SCA 108, George Lucas Building, 900 W. 34th Street, Los Angeles, CA 90007

Outside the Box [Office], the East Asian Studies Center,
Lorber Films and Documentary Channel

Invite you and a guest to a special screening of

 

Kimjongilia

Written & Directed by N.C. Heikin
Executive Produced by James Egan
and Mike Figgis

Followed by a Q&A with the N.C. Heikin
and James Egan

6:00 P.M. on Sunday, October 17th

The Ray Stark Family Theatre
George Lucas Building, SCA 108
900 W. 34th Street, Los Angeles, CA 90007

FREE ADMISSION. OPEN TO ALL.
MAKE A RESERVATION


"A visually striking, inventively constructed documentary that intercuts grim testimony from North Korean defectors with a wide variety of unusual footage."
– Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times
 
"Uses the filmmaker's special skills (there are interludes of interpretive dance) to tell the story of defectors from North Korea..."
– Michael Cieply, The New York Times
 
"Helmer N.C. Heikin orders up her indictment of the "Dear Leader" in a manner passionate and artistic, elevating fascinating, woeful facts into a wholly elevated realm."
– John Anderson, Variety


Premieres on Documentary Channel® (DOC)
On Sunday, October 17th at 8:00 P.M. ET/PT


About Kimjongilia

Kimjongilia is an unblinking indictment of life in North Korea under the dictatorship of Kim Jong Il. This searing examination of the communist dictatorship established by Kim Il-sung and continued today by his son Kim Jong-il dispels the illusion of a Worker's Paradise peddled by the North Korean government and exposes the injustice, tragedy and famine prevalent over the past forty years. 

Director N.C. Heikin compiles a series of testimonies – and daring escape stories – from concentration camp refugees, defectors and former Korean Army officers. The result is a collage of firsthand witnesses to the unrepentant pain caused by the tyrannical leadership. The courageous individuals documented here have risked everything in the hope of exposing the truth about this cloistered, xenophobic territory.
 
Their testimonies are supplemented by interpretive dance and a riveting score, indicative of the film's keen interest in Korean art – both the propagandistic kind sanctioned by the government and the sort of artistic expression that can result in execution. Footage of cheery government propaganda is juxtaposed with survivor testimony and cold-hard facts. This practice of exposing the truth through ironic exhibition extends to its title: Kimjongilia being the name of the flower created to celebrate Kim Jong-il's 46th birthday. This feature-length documentary is a damning condemnation of a regime founded upon total oppression of its people.

Provided courtesy of Lorber Films.
Not Rated. Running time: 74 minutes. In English & Korean with English subtitles.

To learn more about the film and to view the trailer, click here.

  

About the Guests

N.C. Heikin (Director) studied dance and theatre at Sarah Lawrence College and immediately after graduation began working at La Mama Experimental Theatre Club, with Wilford Leach and Andrei Serban, among others. She created the title role in La Mama's renowned production Carmilla, a Victorian vampire rock-opera. Also at La Mama, she created a series of interdisciplinary performance pieces, shown in New York City and at theatre festivals around the world. As guest director of the Native American Theatre ensemble, she collaborated with Peter Brook on a series of workshops with his company, as well as creating, with the ensemble, Coyote Tracks, a musical based on the Coyote legends. Musical theatre writing credits include Non Pasquale, presented at the Delacorte Theatre, Central Park, under the auspices of the New York Shakespeare Festival/Joseph Papp, and directed by Tony-winner Wilford Leach. In 1986 she began screenwriting with commissions from Paramount and Disney and has since done movies for TV and episodic work. Heikin made her film directing debut in 2004, with her prize-winning 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. 

James Egan (Executive Producer)
is the CEO of Wild at Heart Films, founded in July 2000 to create "Media that Makes a Difference". Cultivating outstanding properties and partnering with emerging artists and filmmakers was a company mission clearly realized when first time director Gwen Wynne brought James the script to her powerful family drama, America Primitive, and asked him to produce it.
 
Egan executive produced and financed the critically acclaimed independent film Jackpot, winner of the John Cassavetes Award for best low-budget feature at the 2001 Independent Spirit Awards. Written and directed by Mark and Michael Polish, Jackpot was distributed by Sony Pictures Classics and premiered in the fall of 2001. His award-winning film, Angels in the Dust was directed by Louise Hogarth and co-produced with Participant Media. Angels in the Dust was theatrically released by Cinema Libre in 2007 and won the Amnesty International Varno Prize for furthering human rights. He co-executive produced Kimjongilia with Mike Figgis, a documentary by first time French director N.C. Heikin that was been selected to compete in the Sundance Film Festival 2009. Wild at Heart has just completed production on the documentary film The Defector, directed by three-time Academy Award-winning director, Mark Jonathan Harris.

Egan, who is a member on the national board of the Wounded Warriors Foundation, is working with entertainment professionals to train wounded members of the military aiding them in finding careers in the film and television industry. On November 15, 2007, the Forget-Me-Not Media Training Center officially opened in San Diego. Twenty wounded veterans graduated from this year's 2008 inaugural class. Egan is also a Professor at the USC School of Cinematic Arts.

Director's Statement

From the moment I first heard Kang Chol-hwan's story of childhood imprisonment in a concentration camp, I knew I had to do something to expose the staggering crimes against humanity taking place in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (the DPRK). The idea of the existence of concentration camps in today's world was simply unacceptable. I started by trying to make a dramatic feature based on Kang's story, but in 2006, I decided to transform the film into a documentary. The interviews were mind-boggling. I developed the deepest respect for these survivors rebuilding their lives, but willing to share their painful pasts. At the same time, another story began to emerge – a cautionary tale of an entire nation held captive by mass repression and forced cult worship.

Since there is almost no pertinent footage from inside the DPRK, I searched for new ways to present this powerful material. Drawing on my background in the theatre, I wove performance into the narrative for its emotional impact, and North Korea's own operatic propaganda for its fantastic contrast to the defectors' testimony. The result is a film that may push the boundaries of documentary filmmaking, but hopefully never diminishes the tremendous emotional power of these courageous refugees.

-- N.C. Heikin

About Documentary Channel®

Documentary Channel (DOC) is the USA's first 24-hour television network exclusively devoted to documentary films and the independent documentary filmmaker, providing viewers with round-the-clock opportunities to see fascinating, eclectic and award-winning documentary films of all lengths and genres. Documentary Channel is primarily available through satellite television services DISH Network (Channel 197) and DIRECTV (Channel 267).

For more information on DOC, visit www.documentarychannel.com.

About the East Asian Studies Center (EASC)

In 1975, the USC College of Letters, Arts and Sciences established the East Asian Studies Center (EASC) in order to provide dedicated leadership, coordination and support for the growing interdisciplinary education, research activity, and community outreach concerning East Asia. EASC has been recognized as one of the nation's leading centers for the development of East Asian area studies and is among a small group of elite colleges and universities to be designated a National Resource Center for East Asian studies by the U.S. Department of Education.

To learn more about the EASC, visit: http://college.usc.edu/east_asian_studies/

About Outside the Box [Office]

Outside the Box [Office] is a weekly showcase for upcoming releases highlighting world cinema, documentary and independent film titles. Recognizing a need for greater diversity on campus, the series will draw from around the globe to present movies that may challenge, inspire or simply entertain. The weekly screenings will be on Wednesday and Sunday nights (and other select dates, as they arise) in the School of Cinematic Arts Complex, George Lucas Building.

To view the calendar of screenings, click here.

Check-In & Reservations

This screening is free of charge and open to the public. Please bring a photo ID or print out of your reservation confirmation, which will automatically be sent to your e-mail account upon successfully making an RSVP through this website. Doors will open at 5:30 P.M.

Parking

The USC School of Cinematic Arts is located at 900 W. 34th St., Los Angeles, CA 90007. Parking passes may be purchased for $8.00 at USC Entrance Gate #5, located at the intersection of W. Jefferson Blvd. & McClintock Avenue. We recommend parking in outdoor Lot M or V, or Parking Structure D, at the far end of 34th Street. Please note that Parking Structure D cannot accommodate tall vehicles such as SUVs. Free street parking is also available along Jefferson Blvd.

Contact Information

Name: Alessandro Ago
Email: aago@cinema.usc.edu
Phone: 213.740.2330