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Pyongyang is hosting its 13th film festival this weekend.
Let's play a little word association. When I say "film festival," what is the first city that comes to mind?
You might have replied, Cannes, Toronto, Sundance, or even Tribeca — but now you need to add Pyongyang to the list.
The North Korean capital city will be hosting the 13th Pyongyang International Film Festival starting this Thursday.
The first North Korean film festival took place way back in 1987, and was then known as the Pyongyang Film Festival of the Non-aligned and Other Developing Countries, according to Movieline. In 2008 the event showed 110 films from 46 countries, most of which were edited by censors. The film festival's mantra reads: "For Independence, Peace and Friendship."
According to the Associated Press, the event offers North Koreans their only chance to see foreign films on the big screen with movies coming from Britain, Germany and elsewhere. But don't expect any Hollywood blockbusters to be screened.
Beyond letting foreign movies into the city, actual foreigners will be allowed into North Korean theaters to watch movies alongside locals.
The most buzzed-about film to be screened has to be "Comrade Kim Goes Flying." The film centers around a young North Korean girl born into a coal mining family who dreams of becoming a circus acrobat.
According to Movieline, the joint North Korean and European production took almost seven years to make.
British filmmaker Nicholas Bonner told the AP, "It's not what you expect from North Korea, and it's not something people have seen before."
The AP noted that North Koreans, following the lead of the late Dear Leader, Kim Jong Il, are movie fanatics. North Koreans will may upwards of 500 won ($5) to catch a flick at their local cinema. That might seem like a steal to you, but as Business Insider points out, it's a lot of money considering the annual per-capita GDP is about $1,800.
As for the dear leader, he once wrote that movies are a tool to help develop people into true communists, adding, "creative work is not a mere job, but an honorable revolutionary task."
Here is the trailer for "Comrade Kim Goes Flying":