About the Book
We’ve all heard the phrase the truth is stranger than fiction. Never has that been truer than in the real life story that unfolds in Paul Fischer’s A Kim Jong-Il Production: The Extraordinary True Story of a Kidnapped Filmmaker, His Star Actress, and a Young Dictator's Rise to Power.
Before he became leader, Kim Jong-Il was the movie-obsessed head of North Korea’s Ministry for Propaganda. Frustrated by the lack of talent for the movies he wanted to make, Kim decided to change that in 1978 by kidnapping the leading South Korean director, Shin Sang-Ok, and his ex-wife, the famous South Korean actress, Choi Eun-hee. Choi was taken first and when Shin went looking for her (they were still friendly), he was nabbed. Put in isolated luxury, Choi was trotted out for parties and kept in the finest apartments. Shin, after attempting to escape more than once, was beaten and jailed, even forced to eat grass for survival. This went on for nearly five years. Five years away from their kids. Five years away from their country. And five years stuck in North Korea with no realisation the other was there.
That changed one night in 1983 when Shin was brought to a party held in Kim’s honour. Reunited and emotional, Choi and Shin embraced as Kim announced to the gathered photographers and guests that the couple would remarry. The good news: they fell back in love and stayed together until Shin’s death in 2006. The bad news: they were still hostages of North Korea and, as planned by Kim, forced to make seven films for the DPRK (Kim was credited as executive producer on each, of course) before their escape in 1986.
Engrossing, shocking and, at times, bizarre, A Kim Jong-Il Production offers readers an inside look at the world’s most secretive country, from those forced to spend time there.
About the Author
Paul Fischer is an American film producer. His first feature film, the documentary Radioman, was released to critical and commercial acclaim. A Kim Jong-Il Production is his first book.