North Lashes Out at NK Film Festival

North Korean propaganda website Uriminzokkiri has lambasted the inaugural two-day North Korean Human Rights International Film Festival, scheduled to be held this Thursday and Friday at a Seoul university theater.

Uriminzokkiri, which targets the South Korean domestic audience with rabble rousing vigor, reported news of the festival in an editorial on November 3rd, asking “What do they hope to achieve by setting up this army of conspirators?” before blaming the festival for “inciting rage” and adding that “This so-called ‘North Korean Human Rights International Film Festival’ being run by defectors from the ‘Network for North Korean Democracy’ and other anti-republic schemers is an insult to the dignity and system of our republic, and just more scheming and confrontational stagecraft designed to incite negative sentiment towards our system.”

“Behind this are the puppet conservative authorities,” it continued, before going on to criticize the festival itself, saying, “Under the mask of civil society, the puppets and their schemers are plotting another anti-republic demonstration in the form of this ‘international’ film festival.”

NKnet has made no secret of the modest financial support for the festival being provided by the Ministry of Unification.

The piece continued, “By drawing international attention to a non-existent human rights issue through this dangerous and inflexible film festival, those from South Chosun who are responsible for turning their own country into the worst abuser and annihilator of human rights in the world are trying to cover up their own criminal acts, while hoping to agitate an atmosphere of anti-republic antagonism and conspiratorial hostility towards us.”

“The South Chosun puppets are the true human rights thugs and criminals,” it then went on, continuing, “The puppets are tactless degenerates with no basic morals or manners for choosing to slander their own race in front of the whole world.”

It is unclear from where in the North Korean hierarchy the order for this attack came; regardless, history has taught organizers to brace themselves for potential trouble.

In 2005, a student conference on North Korean human rights was disrupted by protests from members of the Hanchongryun, a pro-North Korea student organization. Some members of the same group flew with members of Unification Solidarity to Brussels in 2006 to disrupt an international conference on North Korean human rights. This past August a screening of ‘Kimjongilia’, a documentary made from interviews with North Korean refugees, also had to be cancelled following protests by the Korea Confederation of Trade Unions.

This week’s film festival will see 10 films covering North Korean human rights screened at Dongkuk University’s Lee Hae Rang Arts Theater over two days.

Headline screenings will include North Korea VJ, a film produced by a North Korean journalist; Lonely Echo, a film about the families of kidnap victims; Inside, an insight into the human rights situation through the life of a father and his daughter; Final Report, a fictional story about a refugee in South Korea who kills another refugee; and Elephant in the Room, a three-part documentary which highlights the apathy of South Korean society to North Korean human rights through the story of a group of foreigners involved in the human rights movement.