Camp 14 – Total Control Zone

Thursday, June 20, 2013

New York premiere! Filmmaker in person!

CAMP 14 – TOTAL CONTROL ZONE is a fascinating portrait of a young man who grew up imprisoned by dehumanizing violence yet still found the will to escape. Born inside a North Korean prison camp as the child of political prisoners, Shin Dong-Huyk was raised in a world where all he knew was punishment, torture, and abuse. Filmmaker Marc Wiese crafts his documentary by quietly drawing details from Shin in a series of interviews in which Shin’s silence says as much as his words. Weaving anecdotes from a former camp guard and a member of the secret police with powerful animated scenes capturing key moments in Shin’s life, Wiese pulls audiences into Shin’s world. Shin escapes and becomes a human rights ‘celebrity,’ but as we see, his life outside the camp is often just as challenging as it was inside it.

Presented in association with Bellevue/NYU Program for Survivors of Torture, and The Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma,

North Korea operates a network of political prison camps known as gwa-li-so, a word that strikes fear in North Koreans who know that the brutal forced labor, near-starvation rations, and abuse by prison guards means that being sent there is akin to a death sentence. With research based on testimonies of Shin and others who have managed to flee the country, Human Rights Watch is campaigning to establish a United Nations commission of inquiry to investigate crimes against humanity taking place in the gwa-li-so and other detention centers in the country.


Renowned cinematographer and filmmaker Nestor Almendros (1930–1992) was a founder of the Human Rights Watch Film Festival, actively involved in the selection of films and the promotion of human rights filmmaking. Even while deeply immersed in his own projects, he took the time to call the Festival team to mention a strong documentary or promote a work-in-progress. Believing in the power of human rights filmmaking, Nestor devoted himself to becoming a mentor to many young filmmakers. It is in the Festival’s loving memory of Nestor and our desire to celebrate his vision that we proudly bestow this award to filmmakers for their exceptional commitment to human rights.

The Festival is delighted to present Marc Wiese—filmmaker of Camp 14 – Total Control Zone—with our 2013 Nestor Almendros Award for courage in filmmaking.

  • Country Germany
  • Language In Korean with English subtitles
  • Rating NR
  • Running Time 104 minutes
  • Director Marc Wiese

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