1. A mind-blowing timelapse video revealing a snapshot of life in Pyongyang, the capital of North Korea, has just gone live online.
2. Named Enter Pyongyang, it was a collaboration between Beijing-based North Korea tour company Koryo Tours, branding expert JT Singh, and filmmaker Rob Whitworth.
3. Pyongyang is one of the most mysterious cities in the world. The single-party country’s supreme leader, Kim Jong-un, almost never allows filming there.
4. An incredibly clean, orderly version of the city is presented.
5. The team admits that it was monitored by the country’s National Tourism Administration and had to follow rules about what not to film.
Vicky Mohieddeen of Koryo Tours said: “From convincing security at the Grand People’s Study House to enact a lock-in so we could capture the sun setting over Kim Il Sung Square, to negotiating with traffic police commanders to allow us to hyper-lapse through the streets of Pyongyang, during the making of this film we did many things previously thought impossible.”
North Korea has been more open to tourism recently, with tour groups regularly permitted to enter the country – although trips are always managed by officials and free roaming is forbidden. There have, however, been alarming cases of foreign nationals being detained there recently. Two U.S. citizens, Matthew Miller and Jeffrey Fowle, have been held there since May, charged with crimes against the state. Kenneth Bae, another U.S. citizen, is serving a 15-year hard-labor sentence in the country, charged with planning to overthrow the government.
6. While it doesn’t touch on the horrendous conditions many North Korean citizens have to endure, or the country’s shocking human rights abuses, it’s still a stunning piece of filming.
North Korea would only allow a video such as this to be made if it was displaying a heavily vetted, entirely positive image of the city. Beneath this artifice, life is very different for the citizens of North Korea. The filming team said: “Enter Pyongyang is an observational film. At no point did Koryo Tours or we have to pretend to be supporters of the DPRK government or their philosophy in order to be granted permission to shoot this film.”