Tag Archives: documentary

Director Ann Shin on TVO’s DocStudio: Why I Needed to Make This Film

In the midst of funding cutbacks for TVOntario they continue to champion great documentaries while creating an online community to showcase documentary works. Ann Shin was invited to discuss the importance of making The Defector: Escape From North Korea.


“As a Korean-Canadian, I was in a unique position to get intimate access into North Korean stories and to tell it tio a Western audience. I started meeting with North Korean defectors in Toronto, and learned about a vast global network of people who were helping them. I met with church groups and humanitartian aid organizations. I began to envision a film about North Korean defectors and the global network of people who were putting themselves at risk to help them… continue” -Ann Shin on TVO DocStudio

For the full story and other amazing docs, visit TVO’s DocStudio.

Vote for The Defector as IndiWire’s Project of the Week!

The poll is up for IndieWire‘s Project of the Week and we need your help! If we win Project of the Week we have the chance to compete for Project of the Month and gain support from Sundance Institute!

The Voting is done through Facebook, so if you have an account please take the poll- we are #4 on the list! We have some stiff competition and need a strong push ahead, so click on the link and vote for us!

Polls close on Monday December 5th- that’s tomorrow- so get to it! If you don’t have Facebook you can still help by passing on the link to a friend you think would be interested in the documentary. Every little bit helps!

Here is the link to the poll: http://apps.facebook.com/my-polls/?poll_id=bc6xv1eh

And here is the link to our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/thedefectormovie

Thanks a million,

The Defector Team

Raining marshmallows in North Korea


The same organization that plans balloon launches containing bibles and religious materials, news from the outside world and practical items has organized a special treat for Christmas. The Colorado Springs based organization will send balloons full of marshmallows Peeps over the South Korean boarder into the North. Reindeer and Christmas trees will also be found in the packages. Why marshmallows? As Rev. Eric Foley, co-founder and CEO of Seoul USA states, “Who wants to get hit on the head by a falling candy cane?”

Read the full story here

North Korea now allows cellphones


Photo by Reuters/Jacky Chen

One million cellphone users will be registered on North Korea’s new 3G network built with Orascom, an Egyptian company. Using a mobile device was once considered illegal in North Korea as cellphones and the internet have been strong forces in rallying protests and overthrowing rulers such as Muammar Gaddafi. With a change of heart, the North Korean government does not see the tools as a threat. This is likely due to the fact that only the rich can afford to own them. It costs roughly $350 for a cellphone and average monthly income is about $15.

Read more at Reuters.com

The Defector on TVO’s Doc Studio


Our friends at TVO have given THE DEFECTOR a page on their Doc Studio website! We are so excited to get the stamp of approval and stand with so many great projects. If you haven’t seen our trailer yet, it’s on there too!

Check out our new Facebook App where people share their harrowing stories of escape from all types of oppression. Whats your story?


More than 300,000 North Koreans have escaped their country and are in hiding. Some have been brave enough to share their story with you on this interactive Facebook APP that ties stories and pictures in with Google Earth locations.  

Tell us your storyWhether you’ve been forced to flee your country or have travelled through countries with political, religious or ethnic oppression, we want to hear about it.   


The first 50 people to upload their stories, videos or photos receive a free craft, hand made by North Korean defectors. Be sure to login to your Facebook account before you upload so we can send you your craft. 

Exhibit showing rare images of life behind the iron curtain- Check it out this Tuesday!


The exhibition will feature over 100 photographs of daily life inside North Korea, plus videos shot by North Koreans and drawings by prison camp survivors depicting their experience inside the camps. Refugees seeking asylum in Toronto will also be present to talk about their escape experiences.

Check out the exhibit Tuesday, November 22, 2011 from 6-7:30pm at The Korea Times, 287 Bridgeland Ave in Toronto, Ontario.

#NorthKorea beat #Japan in #WorldCup Qualifier


North Korean player Pak Nam Chol scoring a goal against Japan on Nov 15. Image by AP Herald Sun

North Korea beat Japan 1-0 in a World Cup qualifier home game this week. The Kim Il-Sung stadium was packed to capacity with 50,000 fans cheering fervently. Despite the win, North Korea trails so far behind Japan and Uzbekistan that it wont be able to advance in the World Cup games.  

#GoodMonday everyone! Here’s a #Cheapthrill: FAQs about our #Kickstarter campaign- pitch in, feel good!

Thinking about donating to our Kickstarter campaign but have a few questions? Well we have answers! Feel free to contact us with more questions anytime, we will be more than happy to address them.


If the film has funders, why do you need $20,000 more? 

Our defectors’ journeys are taking longer than expected, so it is requiring extra shoot trips to follow them to their final destinations. $20,000 will allow our team to travel and follow 2-3 of our main characters as they try to get through to South Korea, Canada or the United States. If we raise closer to $50,000 we can follow up on their lives post-defection, and also film with the key Canadian, American and South Korean aid workers and church organizations who have been integral to our characters’ journeys.

I’m confused, is this project a documentary film or an interactive website?

 It’s both, and more! We are developing an interactive website that recreates the journey of a fugitive, from inside North Korea, across Asia and halfway around the world. We also have an interactive Facebook app as well as a mobile app, and a feature film. It’s Documentary 2.0!  All the various media are different ways to take part in the dialogue on North Korean social justice issues.

When should I tell you which T-shirt I want in the size I want?

Once the project is fully funded, we will send out a survey asking for specific details from each pledger. We’ll take your shirt size, style, name you wish to have in the credits, address, and any other information we need to make sure you get what you want out of your package! 


Do I have to use my real name in the credits? Can I put a friend’s name, pseudonym, or leave it out altogether? 

 You are by no means obliged to have your own name in the Thank You credits of the film. You can buy it for a friend and put their name in the credits, or leave your name out if you prefer. We will send out a survey once the project is successful, and you can tell us exactly what name will appear on the credits.

Can I expect to get my T-shirt and/or key-chain in time for the Holidays?

We are going to do our best to send out your packages as soon as we can. Hopefully that means they will be ready for the holidays, but there is no guarantee. We will keep you posted once the project is successful!

Is my donation tax deductible?

Kickstarter donations are not tax deductible, unfortunately. But you can get a tax deduction if you donate through our project page on Woman Make Movies. It does not contribute to our Kickstarter unfortunately, but if getting a charitable receipt is important for you, please consider this option!

Hope this is helpful!

Happy Monday,

Fathom Film Group and The Defector Team


Favorite Kickstarter Prize: Key-chains hand crafted by #NorthKorean #defectors living in hiding in Asia

This bloggers’ favorite prize on The Defector’s Kickstarter campaign is the hand-crafted key-chain made by defectors living in hiding. Not only do you help the film campaign when you donate, but a portion of the money goes directly to help the defectors in hiding. It’s the {BIG THANK YOU} package. Your name appear in the Thank You credits of the film, you help the film and North Korean defectors, and you get this amazing hand crafted key-chain as a keepsake. Not bad for $20!



To get this package, check out our Kickstarter campaign and pledge!