The Jangmadang Generation

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At the end of World War II a new country emerged. The world would come to know it as North Korea. This new state was infused with dangerous philosophies from its very conception. 

Nationalism, authoritarianism, militarism became the ideology upon which the new country was founded.  Five years after taking power, the government attempted to unify the Koreas by force. Millions lost their lives during the conflicts until the regime refocused its attention back inside the country. The government exerted total control of the economy and the citizens. The constant propaganda was to ensure loyalty while at the same time the slightest indication of dissent was brutally crushed as an example for others to stay on track.

North Korean leaders created the most closed information environment on the planet. In so doing, they isolated their people from the progress happening in the rest of the world.

In the 1990s their economy collapsed and triggered a devastating famine that deteriorated the relationship between the government and the people forever. Dead bodies of those who had starved could be seen all over as if the streets had become a battlefield. The people had to get creative in order to survive so they took the economy into their own hands and started trading in new markets that came to be known as the Jangmadang. This system became the source of information and technology that had once been out of reach of the North Koreans. Despite the threats and oppression, the people started to break the rules and to open up their country from the inside.

The generation that grew up during this time is now emerging as the greatest force for change that North Korea has ever seen.

Over the past decade, about 30,000 defectors have made their way into South Korea. Talking with these men and women you get a clear idea of just how little the rest of the world knows about North Korea. They are willing to fight in order to reclaim their freedom from this repressive system. This film doesn’t want to portray North Koreans as victims. It wants to focus on the fact that even in the most unlikely circumstances, people can develop their potential and strive to create a better future for themselves and their loved ones. It takes resilience, focus, and determination and these men and women have proven to have it.