Pyongyang Feature Film Studio

One of the defining leaders of communism, Lenin, believed that “cinema is the greatest of all arts.” It should be of no surprise that the country led by Kim Jong Il, the owner of one of the world’s largest collections of films, would also hold cinema in such high regards. The Pyongyang Feature Film Studio is the most renowned of all the film production facilities in the DPRK. The studio claims roughly 1 million square meters of land north-west of Pyongyang. Its creation started in 1947, 1 year before the formation of the DPRK’s government, but it wasn’t until the 1960s that the studio gained its fame. During Kim Jong Il’s early adult life, he was a big film buff, authoring a book in 1973, titled “The Art of Cinema.”  He repeatedly visited throughout his life, and gave a grand total of 11,890 guidances to the studio. These guidances propelled it into the modern age with the use of new techniques and styles. From it’s birth, combined with the guidances from Kim Jong Il, the studio perfected the art of spreading information in a unique way to the citizens of the DPRK. The studio itself has prop sets ranging from streets depicting the Japanese occupation of Korea, palaces that give an idealistic view of dynastic Korea, European farm towns, and even South Korean towns complete with massage parlors that imply their neighboring country has a lower standard of morals. Many famous North Korean actors started their careers here, one of the most famous is an American defector by the name of James Dresnok. He consistently played the role as the evil American cowboy or GI, even his sons have since taken on the trade, playing similar roles to this day. An untold number of films are still produced here, up to 50 a year, despite foreign films finding their way into the DPRK and gaining popularity with the local population. Pulgasari, a Godzilla-like monster movie, is one of the most popular films the studio has produced. Many of films the studio produces bear a remarkable resemblance to popular Hollywood films, leading many to call the North Korean film industry “Cholliwood,” wordplay in reference to the Korean mythical horse, the Chollima.