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2 items from 2016

Magnolia Pictures Acquires North Korean Kidnapping Tale 'The Lovers and the Despot'

29 January 2016 9:38 AM, PST | Indiewire | See recent Indiewire news »

Read: Sundance Exclusive: Clip From ‘The Lovers And The Despot’ Goes Over The Border Into North Korea Magnolia Pictures has acquired worldwide distribution rights to the documentary "The Lovers and the Despot," which saw its premiere this week at the Sundance Film Festival.  Co-directors Rob Cannan ("Three Miles North of Molkom") and Ross Adams' stranger-than-fiction documentary chronicles the bizarre circumstances in which filmmaker Shin Sang-ok and actress Choi Eun-hee, South Korea's darling celebrity couple, were kidnapped and forced to be Kim Jong-il's personal filmmakers. While imprisoned and planning their escape, the filmmaking duo was forced to produce 17 movies for the film-obsessed despot. But while working for the megalomaniacal leader, the cunning couple began fostering a trusting relationship with the dictator as a means of gaining an opportunity to flee back to their native South Korea. "Rob and Ross have captured a »

- Riyad Mammadyarov

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Sundance: Magnolia Nabs Korean Kidnapping Documentary ‘Lovers and the Despot’

29 January 2016 9:19 AM, PST | Variety - Film News | See recent Variety - Film News news »

Magnolia Pictures has acquired worldwide rights to the documentary “The Lovers and the Despot,” following its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival.

The film, directed by Rob Cannan and Ross Adams, centers on the 1978 kidnappings of South Korean director Shin Sang-ok and actress Choi Eun-hee by operatives of the late North Korean dictator Kim Jong-il, a film fanatic. It will have its European premiere next month in the Panorama section of the Berlin Film Festival.

Magnolia is targeting a 2016 theatrical release.

After a string of successful films, Choi was kidnapped by North Korean agents and taken to meet Kim Jong-il. Shin, who had recently divorced Choi, went searching for her and was also kidnapped.

Following five years of imprisonment, the couple was reunited by Kim, who declared them his personal filmmakers. Choi and Shin produced 17 feature films for the dictator and escaped in 1986 in Vienna by requesting political asylum at the United States embassy. »

- Dave McNary

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