Next week in Pyongyang, James Joseph Dresnok, a U.S. Army soldier who in 1962 fled into North Korea, will see and critique Crossing the Line
, British director Daniel Gordon's documentary of his life in the world's newest nuclear state, the docu's executive producer said at the AFM.
"Dresnok's health is good. He will see the film next week and send a letter out to let the filmmakers and the world know his thoughts on the film," said producer Paul Yi, who sold the film this week for six figures to France's Pretty Pictures at the American Film Market.
Word of the Crossing
screening for Dresnok came from British co-producer Nicholas Bonner, who spoke to Yi over the telephone when he emerged from his latest trip into the isolated stronghold of dictator Kim Jong-il. Kim last month oversaw communist North Korea's first nuclear test, putting the rest of the world on high alert.
Dresnok, a Virginia-born orphan who for years starred as an American villain in Pyongyang propaganda films, has long suffered from a heart condition due to heavy drinking and smoking in his chosen home, an isolated and poverty-stricken capital cut off from the rest of the world.
"When we finished shooting the film, Dresnok was in the hospital and we weren't sure if he was going to make it out. Now we know he's alive," Yi said. Dresnok will likely watch Crossing
on DVD with the state film crew that helped Gordon make the film, Yi said,
As with producer-director Gordon's two previous North Korea documentary films, Crossing
may also have a public screening in Pyongyang or air on the state's single television channel, Yi said.
"We're not quite sure what the authorities' reaction to 'Crossing' will be," Yi said.Crossing
, which premiered at the Pusan International Film Festival in South Korea last month, will get a theatrical release in France, where Pretty also plans to distribute it in a box set with Gordon's previous North Korea documentaries The Game of Their Lives
and A State of Mind
. It was presold to Cinequanon in Japan and the Dongoong Arts Center in South Korea.