Transcript: Behind the Lens: The Defector | Feb 29, 2016

(music plays)

The title of the show appears through a camera lens. It reads "TVO Behind the Lens. In-depth with the filmmakers."

A caption reads "Ann Shin. Producer, director and co-writer."

Ann is in her thirties, with long slightly wavy brown hair and wears jeans, a white top, a gray jacket and a silver necklace.

She says I'M ANN SHIN, AND MY
FILM IS
THE DEFECTOR:
ESCAPE FROM
NORTH KOREA.
I PRODUCED IT, I DIRECTED
IT AND CO-WROTE IT.

A man with his faced blurred says "In 2001, I escaped North Korea. I was a North Korean refugee myself. Since then, I’ve helped many defectors and I’ve brought about 500 people over so far."

Ann says IT'S ABOUT TWO YOUNG
WOMEN WHO WANT TO ESCAPE
FROM NORTH KOREA.
EACH OF THESE DEFECTORS
WANT TO JOIN DRAGON'S GROUP,
ESCAPING OUT OF CHINA.
BUT HE WON'T HAVE
ROOM FOR EVERYONE.
THEY HAVE TO DO IT WITH
THE HELP OF A GUIDE,
OR A BROKER NAMED DRAGON.
DRAGON'S DECIDING ON
HOW MANY DEFECTORS
HE'LL TAKE OUT OF CHINA.
HIS ROLE IS DUBIOUS.
I DON'T KNOW WHETHER YOU'RE
GOING TO LIKE HIM OR NOT.
HE LIKED TO CALL
HIMSELF A HUMANITARIAN.
OTHERS WOULD CALL
HIM A HUMAN SMUGGLER.

The man says "If I’m too greedy, or I make a mistake I could gamble away everyone’s fate."

Ann says I REALLY FELT I NEEDED
TO TELL THE STORY
BECAUSE THE HUMAN
RIGHTS TRAGEDY THAT'S
OCCURRING WITHIN
NORTH KOREA IS MASSIVE.
I MEAN PEOPLE HAVE LIKENED
IT TO THE HOLOCAUST.
THERE ARE ESTIMATES OF
MILLIONS OF PEOPLE
WHO'VE BEEN KILLED IN LABOUR
CAMPS INSIDE NORTH KOREA.

A woman with her face blurred says "The government doesn’t give us a thing, but they keep forcing us to work. I don’t want to live anymore. Even if I die trying, I want to get out of this country."

Ann says AND THOSE WHO MANAGE
TO BE RELEASED OR ESCAPE,
OFTEN THEY'RE THE ONES
WHO ARE DEFECTING
BECAUSE THEY FEEL THEY
HAVE NOTHING ELSE TO LOSE.

Another woman with a blurred face says "It will be a tough journey but I’ve set my mind to go."

Ann says EVERY DAY OF THE SHOOT
UNDERCOVER I WAS FEARFUL.
I'LL BE FILMING UNDERCOVER
AS I FOLLOW THEM ON
THEIR 3000-MILE
JOURNEY OUT OF CHINA.
BUT I'M UNCOMFORTABLE
WITH TRUSTING DRAGON.
BECAUSE, AS A BROKER,
EVERYTHING HE DOES IS ILLEGAL.
I'M A MOTHER OF TWO.
WITH A HOUSE, WITH A CAR,
WITH A HUSBAND... YOU KNOW.
I DON'T HAVE A WHITE
PICKET FENCE, BUT I HAVE
A MIDDLE-CLASS LIFE, AND
WHILE I WAS FILMING
UNDERCOVER IN ASIA,
AT ONE POINT, I THOUGHT,
OH MY GOD, WHAT HAVE
I GOTTEN MYSELF INTO?
I MEAN, I HAD DONE ALL
THIS RESEARCH, BUT I STILL
HAD NO IDEA THAT SOME OF
THE THINGS WE'D ENCOUNTER
WERE SO RISKY.
AND I SERIOUSLY THOUGHT,
MAYBE... MAYBE WE SHOULD
JUST STOP NOW.
BUT I TALKED IT
OVER WITH MY CAMERAMAN
AND SOUNDMAN, AND WE THOUGHT,
IT'S OKAY, WE CAN DO THIS.

In the film, Ann says SO OUR GROUP WAS SUPPOSED
TO HAVE ARRIVED LAST NIGHT
OR THIS MORNING AND CALL ME,
BUT THEY HAVEN'T CALLED.
AND SO I'M NOT SURE
WHERE THEY ARE.

Ann says I'M OF KOREAN BACKGROUND,
BUT I WAS BORN IN CANADA.
BUT MY PARENTS LEFT
AFTER THE KOREAN WAR.
BEFORE KOREA WAS DIVIDED
INTO NORTH AND SOUTH,
THERE WERE THE SOCIALIST KOREANS
AND THE DEMOCRATIC KOREANS.
BUT DURING THE WAR
THOSE WHO WERE SOCIALISTS
WERE TORTURED.
WHO LIVED IN THIS HOUSE,
SO MY AUNT AND UNCLE
WHO WERE SOCIALISTS HAD
TO FLEE TO THE NORTH.
BUT THEN THEY WERE SEEN
AS TRAITORS AND WERE SENT
BACK TO THE SOUTH.
SO THEY SUFFERED A LOT,
AND THEY HAD TO FLEE.
THE STORY OF NORTH KOREAN
DEFECTORS REALLY TOUCHED ME
DEEPLY BECAUSE IT REMINDED
ME OF THE HARDSHIPS
THAT MY FAMILY WENT THROUGH
DURING THE KOREAN WAR.
IT'S A DIFFERENT TIME, AND
IT'S A DIFFERENT SITUATION,
BUT THERE ARE A LOT OF
RESONANCES IN TERMS OF
WHAT DEFECTORS ARE
GOING THROUGH TODAY.

A caption reads "The defector. TVO.org."

The announcer says WATCH THIS AND OTHER
DOCS IN OUR LIBRARY
24-7 ON TVO.ORG

Watch: Behind the Lens: The Defector