MADRID – Alvaro Longoria – director of the Javier Bardem-produced “Sons of the Clouds: The Last Colony” and producer of the Oliver Stone-directed “Comandante” and “Looking For Fidel,” a Fidel Castro diptych, – is shooting “Korean Dream,” a portrait of North Korea, the world’s last bastion of pure-play communism.
Longoria’s second movie as a director, “Korean Dream” has just initiated shooting in North Korea, one of the world’s most hermetic and little-known redoubts.
It is produced by Spain’s Morena Films, Halley Productions in France, London-based Met Film Production and Germany’s Taskovski Films. United Talent Agency represents the project for the U.S.
“Korean Dream” tackles head-on one of the major questions for any potential spectator: How do people really live in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea?
The docu-feature plays off exclusive access to the daily lives of citizens in North Korea, gained via a key facilitator, Spaniard Alejandro Cao de Benos, the only foreigner working for the DPRK, Morena Films announced Thursday.
Guided by De Benos, Longoria and his crew will travel through the country, talking with not only governmental representatives but also normal people in the countryside and cities, as well as NGOs in Korea.
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Also bearing witness to Kim-Il-sung birthday celebrations in Pyongyang, “Korean Dream” will portray the day-to-day existence of North Koreans, and deliver a more macro view of its economy, politics and society.
In addition, “Korean Dream” will visit the border with South Korea and attempt to gauge potential collateral from a rupture in the balance between North Korea, a nuclear power and South Korea and its ally, the U.S.
A second main question of “Korean Dream” is just what Longoria will make of North Korea. Robustly independent, his feature debut “Sons of the Clouds,” co-produced by Lilly Hartley’s Candescent Films, which won a Spanish Academy Goya, asked – and answered – why the Western Sahara, abandoned by Spain and annexed by Morocco in its 1975 Green March, became, according to a U.N. statement, a colony – the last in Africa, noted Bardem – leaving 200,000 Saharawis living in desert refugee camps, mostly in South-West Algeria, without schools nor hospitals.
The two Oliver Stone Fidel Castro docus gave time to a man most people in the West would dismiss out of hand as an anachronistic tyrant, though the second docu criticized Castro’s 2003 clampdown on dissidents in Cuba.
“Sons of the Clouds” suggested vested political interests – the Morocco and France’s governments, for instance – were responsible for the plight of contemporary Saharawis.
At Morena, where he is one of its three producer partners, Longoria’s producer credits also include Steven Soderbergh’s two “Che” movies, which won Benicio del Toro best actor at Cannes in 2008.
Longoria and Met Film’s Al Morrow will present first images of “Korean Dream” at a pitching session held at Toronto’s Hot Docs docu forum in late April.