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Burden of Freedom – 2018

Documentary, 09:50, digital.
Interviews with Jang Yu Bin, Im Yeon Hee, Yi Young Joo
Created by Sae Yong Lee
As of 2018, approximately 30,000 North Korean refugees have settled in South Korea since the establishment of Hanawon in 1999, the government-run center for supporting North Korean refugees.* According to refugees, the most popular and safest route for escaping North Korea is to cross the Chinese border across Duman River. However, the real journey begins when they enter China. North Korean refugees become victims of human trafficking and forced marriage, while some are being deported back to North Korea and incarcerated in prison camps. When they are considered as illegal immigrants in China, only a portion of North Koreans manage to enter South Korea. This documentary interviews three North Korean defectors and investigate their traumatic border-crossing experiences. What was the price they paid for freedom? Also, how the stigmatic history under North Korean regime would be treated in case of unification in Korean peninsula? This film characterizes and presents accounts of human rights violations in North Korea and China to discuss these questions. 

Social activist collectives and YouTube channel and BaNa TV provided contacts with North Korean refugees for interviews. Lee acknowledges their important contributions in making of this film.
BaNa TV:

* “북한 이탈주민 정착지원,” 통일부. Accessed May 14, 2018.

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