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Biit Festival: The 2016 North Korean Human Rights Film & Freedom Festival

Biit Festival: The 2016 North Korean Human Rights Film & Freedom Festival

On September 21, Hudson Institute and No Chain presented a free screening of three films on North Korean human rights abuses. As part of the Biit Festival, a festival on human rights in North Korea, Hudson Institute screened these films and hosted Rev. Kim Seung Eun, featured in Across Land, Across Sea, for a Q & A session.

Across Land, Across Sea

Songgook and Sueryun are newlywed North Korean defectors, living hand to mouth in South Korea. The film is about their struggle to bring their remaining family members from the North to the South. Songgook risks his own life to bring his family south by boat—one of the first boat escapes known, and the first to be shown to the world. (Directed by Hark Joon Lee)


Guilt is a short film based on a South Korean student’s interactions with North Korean exchange students while studying abroad in China. In her words, “When a North Korean student is selected to study abroad, the family members of the student remain in North Korea as hostages, in order to make sure that they try not to defect. They are all paired in twos for daily activities, so that one could report on the other’s indiscretions, especially if they talked to a “Southerner” like me. Above all else, the North Korean students were not allowed to talk to us South Korean students despite the fact that we share the same language, same tradition and history.” (Directed by Alex Agisilaou)

The Defector

Dragon is a human smuggler who leads North Korean defectors across borders for a living. His latest undercover trip with Sook-ja and Yong-hee takes an unexpected turn when they are left stranded in China, putting their dramatic escape plan into question. Their perilous journey reflects the real experiences of tens of thousands of North Koreans currently hiding in China. Filmed undercover by a Korean-Canadian filmmaker, the film gets intimate access with these three individuals and explores universal questions about human rights, smuggling, and the pursuit of freedom. (Directed by Ann Shin)

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