The North Korean Human Rights International Film Festival aims to raise global audiences’ awareness in order to improve human rights in the country. (Shutterstock/Chintung Lee)
A North Korean movie festival kicked off at the Ice Palace Concert Hall in Lotte Shopping Avenue, South Jakarta, on Monday.
Organized by the Network for North Korean Democracy and Human Rights (NKnet) and slated to run until Wednesday, the North Korean Human Rights International Film Festival (NHIFF) will feature several documentaries about the country.
The program includes Russian production Under the Sun, which was screened on the opening day, and a Korea-France production titled Madam B that is scheduled for a Tuesday screening at the Library Hall of Padjadjaran University in Bandung, West Java.
The event will close on Wednesday with screenings of The Regular Hire, I Love South Korea and Aria at the Jakarta Indonesia Korean School in East Jakarta.
Institute for Policy Research and Advocacy (ELSAM) deputy director Wahyudi Djafar (left to right), South Korean Ambassador to Indonesia Cho Tai-young and North Korean Human Rights International Film Festival (NHIFF) executive member Yoo Jae-kill pose together at the opening of the NHIFF at Lotte Shopping Avenue, South Jakarta, on Nov. 28.(JP/Masajeng Rahmiasri)
“I think using cinema as a means to raise awareness is a very effective way to raise understanding about the situation in North Korea,” Marzuki Darusman, former UN special rapporteur on the situation in North Korea, said during the opening ceremony on Monday.
“Hopefully, after [watching] this movie, we will witness greater support for human rights protection in North Korea,” said Institute for Policy Research and Advocacy (ELSAM) deputy director Wahyudi Djafar, adding that such support was part of solidarity for Asian nations in strengthening human rights protection and fulfillment in the region.
South Korean Ambassador to Indonesia Cho Tai-young also addressed the matter, saying: “For example, if you are detained, thrown into prison for reasons you can’t understand, how can you live a happy life? But, unfortunately that is what's going on in North Korea."
He was hopeful, though, that audience members would start to take action regarding the matter after becoming more informed via the screening.
Since 2011, the festival has screened around 80 movies and produced 15 movies through contests. It aims to raise global audience members’ awareness on North Korean human rights in order to improve rights in the country. It is also eyeing the unification of South and North Korea.
The NHIFF is being held in Indonesia by NKnet together with cohosts ELSAM and the Indonesian Advocacy Center for Law and Human Rights (Paham). In addition to Indonesia, the festival has been hosted in North America and Germany.
The NHIFF is scheduled to commence in Australia on Dec. 4 to 10. (kes)