NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC DOCUMENTARY FILMS ANNOUNCES NEW FOUR-PART SERIES "INSIDE NORTH KOREA'S DYNASTY"
From 72 Films, With the Directing Team Behind Emmy(R) Award-Winning
LA 92 Serving as Editorial Consultants, INSIDE NORTH KOREA'S DYNASTY Set to Premiere Over Two Consecutive Sunday Nights, Nov. 11 and 18
A Year in the Making, Comprehensive Documentary Series Reveals Eye-Opening Look Into the Secretive Kim Dynasty
With Unprecedented Collection of Archival Footage, Rare Firsthand Testimonies and Secret Audio Tapes From Inside the Regime, INSIDE NORTH KOREA'S DYNASTY Brings a Fresh Perspective on the Dynasty's Internal Dynamics
(WASHINGTON, DC - OCT. 22, 2018) With North Korea's relations with the rest of the world at a new and unpredictable inflection point, National Geographic Documentary Films presents INSIDE NORTH KOREA'S DYNASTY, a groundbreaking four-episode documentary series that examines the extraordinary history of the world's only communist dynasty, three generations in the making. A year in production, INSIDE NORTH KOREA'S DYNASTY premieres with back-to-back episodes on Sunday, Nov. 11, and Sunday, Nov. 18, on National Geographic in the US and globally in 171 countries and 43 languages.
Much of the world got its first real glimpse of North Korea's elusive current leader, Kim Jong Un, earlier this year when he met with President Donald Trump in Singapore. But to really understand Kim and his place in the history of North Korea, you need to go back more than 70 years, to when his grandfather, and then father, were the leaders of the "hermit kingdom." It is a story of how a minor guerrilla fighter emerged from the battlefield to take control of a country desperate for leadership, and of a family dynasty unlike any the world has seen in modern times.
INSIDE NORTH KOREA'S DYNASTY is the ultimate story of a family's power, and the relationship among a father, a son and a grandson. The series provides a look at the Kim dynasty more complex and comprehensive than ever attempted before, revealing the workings behind the formidable family dynamics at the heart of an extraordinary country. Viewers will be immersed in the family's dark and surreal story, bringing a fresh perspective on a nation ruled for over seven decades by one dynasty.
Understand the family, and you understand how this country works.
From 72 Films ("Elizabeth I's Secret Agents," "Trump: An American Dream"), and with the directing team behind Emmy award-winning LA 92 serving as editorial consultants, INSIDE NORTH KOREA'S DYNASTY explores the motivations and personalities of the world's only hereditary communist state, combining expert insight, firsthand testimony and one of the largest collections of archival footage related to the Kim dynasty assembled for broadcast.
"National Geographic was clear from the start - they wanted a definitive documentary on the Kim dynasty, unlike anything produced before," said 72 Films. "We immersed ourselves in this project for a year, looking through archives that have not been viewed in decades and interviewing almost 50 people with perspectives that could shed light on this dynasty. Going in via the family was a fresh way to unlock North Korea. All three leaders are fascinating in their own right. They have all chosen to use their extraordinary power in different ways. The result is a film that is as unique in scope and depth as it is in insight and relevance."
Historic moments in the Kim family's trajectory are captured with nearly 30 firsthand testimonies and rare interviews presented in the series, including from Shin Jyeung-Kyun, son of kidnapped South Korean filmmakers; Choi Jae Wook, press secretary for the South Korean president; retired Col. Victor Vierra, in his first television interview, who was stationed at the Demilitarised Zone at the time of the axe murders of August 1976, when two United States Army officers were killed by North Korean soldiers; Kang In-Deok, director of the Korean CIA, North Korea bureau; Ko Young-Hwan, interpreter for Kim Il Sung; Michael Yi, interrogation specialist for the American CIA; Kim Hyun Hui, former North Korean espionage agent and the bomber of Korean Airline Flight 858; American basketball star Dennis Rodman, in one of his most in-depth and candid interviews on his relationship with the current leader; and many others.
Producers culled through nearly 400 hours of tapes to assemble a collection of archival footage to drive the narrative of the story. Viewers will be privy to rarely seen footage from the Swedish film "One for All, All for One"; the Czech film "Fighting Korea," a film about the Korean War; the French film "The Hermit Kingdom," about North Korean life in the 1970s; Jyeung-Kyun's and Wook's archive audio tapes and stills that have never been heard or seen on American television; an exclusive TV Asahi interview taped in Beijing with Kim Jong Nam, the eldest son of Kim Jong Il that has never been seen outside of Asia; and seldom-heard stories of Kenji Fujimoto, Kim Jong Il's personal sushi chef, that have never been featured on English-language television.
There are two histories of the only family that has ruled North Korea, or the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, as the regime prefers to call it. One can be pieced together from the scraps of intelligence that exist: dubious statistics; the comments of the country's leaders and diplomats; the testimonies of its refugees and defectors; and the partial, highly circumscribed observations of visitors to the country. The second is the "official" history - written and constructed by Pyongyang for domestic and international consumption. That history is a mix of hyperbole, legend and myth. INSIDE NORTH KOREA'S DYNASTY will aim to combine both of these histories.
This four-part series documents the birth of the Kim dynasty by examining the rise and rule of the founder of North Korea, Kim Il Sung; his son, Kim Jong Il; and his grandson and the current leader, Kim Jong Un. The episodes include the following:
"Kingdom of the Kims"
Premieres Sunday, Nov. 11, at 9/8c
For decades, Korea and its people laboured under Japanese imperialist rule. But in 1912, in a small town outside Pyongyang, a child is born - Kim Il Sung, coinciding with an omen of imperialism's doom. This is the story of how an unknown guerrilla fighter rises to power, takes complete control of his country and makes himself a god in the eyes of his people. Recounted through firsthand testimony and expertly curated archive, "Kingdom of the Kims" explores Sung's early days in power, how he starts the Korean War, establishes gulags for anyone who could be "hostile", tries to assassinate the President of South Korea, and plays a dangerous game of brinksmanship with the United States, including capturing a US Navy ship - the USS Pueblo - taking American sailors prisoner, and the infamous tree-cutting axe murders in the Demilitarised Zone.
"The Son of God"
Premieres Sunday, Nov. 11, at 10/9c
Unpacking the unique Kim father-son relationship further, "The Son of God" tracks the decline of Kim Il Sung and the rise of his son, Kim Jong Il. Jong is an unlikely successor to his father. He is not a military man - he is obsessed with cinema, particularly James Bond films. "The Son of God" tells the story of how he uses filmmaking and propaganda to win his father's approval - and power. Not only did Jong love James Bond films, but the films influenced his behaviour in trying to immitate a real-life Bond villain. Beginning in the 1970s, this film explores Jong's rise to power as the heir apparent of North Korea, delving into such pivotal incidents as the kidnapping of filmmakers Choi Eun Hee and Shin Sang Ok; the attempted assassination of the president of South Korea; and the terror campaign waged by North Korea, such as the Korean Airline bombing by Kim Hyon Hui, in the buildup to the 1988 Seoul Olympics.
Premieres Sunday, Nov. 18, at 9/8c
"Nuclear Family" begins as the Cold War ends - and North Korea has lost Soviet patronage, and with it, the security it guarantees and the economic support that has sustained the country for nearly half a century. As Kim Jong Il takes complete control of the country, he also starts a nuclear weapons program. With the country's economy failing, his government makes counterfeit $100 bills, and sets up factories making crystal meth and other narcotics. He also employs a private sushi chef, and hosts lavish banquets and parties while the country continues to struggle economically - all while at the same time negotiating with the United States.
Premieres Sunday, Nov. 18, at 10/9c
The final episode starts with the death of Kim Jong Il and the rise of the new leader of North Korea - his son, Kim Jong Un, taking power at the age of 28. Using exclusive interviews, firsthand testimony and expertly curated archive, "Rocket Man" charts Un's reign from 2011 to present day; delves into how Un consolidated power, by killing his uncle and his half-brother; examines the incredible story of his unexpected friendship with basketball star Dennis Rodman; retells his announcing that he has nuclear weapons that can reach the United States; and breaks down the historic 2018 summit with US President Trump.
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About 72 Films
72 films is a production company founded by David Glover and Mark Raphael. Its aim is to create innovative, ambitious projects that inspire, entertain and make a positive contribution to the cultural landscape. Working across all genres, 72 Films focuses on the major broadcasters in the U.K. and U.S. We want to create factual television that millions of people love to watch. Since launching in the summer of 2016, 72 Films has won major commissions with the BBC, Channel 4, PBS, Nat Geo and Netflix.