Sony Pictures drew a lot of heat for their proposed shelving of the Seth Rogen-James Franco vehicle, ‘The Interview’. The controversial (if a little contrived) film upset the North Korean dictator, Kim Jong-Un, who is portrayed as the film’s central antagonist. But after weeks of leaks and sinister hacking, the corporation decided to release the video through streaming services and selected cinemas, offering viewers the chance to see what all the fuss was about.
In the weeks since the ban, the film was been seen by people all over the world, including North Korean defector Park Sang-Hak. Mr. Sang-Hak was so impressed by the film that he announced his intention to covertly drop over a hundred thousand copies of the film into DPRK territory. The move has been met with some support, and a little hesitation, on the part of a public already too wary of the potential impact of the mostly psychological operation.
Mr. Sang-Hak claims that he will use balloons to sneak DVDs and USB sticks across and into North Korean hands. The materials will be accompanied by leaflets which seek to explain the film and illuminate the barbarity of the current regime. “Probably the first launch will be made in late January if weather conditions allow,” Mr Park told the AFP.
The US-based NFP Human Rights Foundation has played a significant role in acquiring and producing the bundles, which they believe are accessible to most North Koreans. In spite of rampant poverty and long-lasting trade sanctions, defectors have stated that many middle-class North Koreans possess DVD and other media players, often imported on-the-cheap from nearby China. They enjoy watching films and are willing to run the risk of being caught.
So how does Mr. Sang-Hak feel about the potential risk to his life? “I will never succumb to any threats,” he told the AFP. And we have complete confidence in his claims. Good luck!
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