“They told me go toward the lights. China has lights,” recalled Yeonmi Park in the film Go To Where The Light Is: Escaping North Korea
Go To Where the Light Is and Anastasia Lin: The Witness Project are two films about the struggle of young women and the oppression of Communism. Both films screened at the Anthem Film Festival, part of FreedomFest. FreedomFest, a libertarian political and financial conference, now in its tenth year, bills itself as the worlds “largest gathering of free minds.”
“Go to where the light is” may seem a strange directive for someone seeking to escape from a totalitarian regime until one sees a photo of North Korea and its neighbors taken from a satellite. Park’s tale of her escape reveals that not only is the darkness physical, but spiritual as well. The film, directed by Josh Oldham and produced by a Washington based film collective, intercuts between Park and animation, to fill in images that could not be created any other way.
Park’s story involves two escapes. The first was from North Korea to China. In China, Park and her mother did not find freedom, but were forced into sex slavery. The second escape was to Mongolia. Park and her mother swore that if they did not get to freedom this time, they would kill themselves. When the Mongolian soldiers saw they were serious, they helped them and Park eventually got to South Korea.
Describing the indoctrination and oppression in North Korea, Park recalled that growing up she did not know words for “liberty or love.”
The film won the film festival’s Special Jury Prize. It was the unanimous selection of the judges for this award. Hollywood biographer and Anthem judge Marc Eliot commented, “This was more than a movie. I went back and watched it three times, and each time I was more moved than before. This was a singular moment.”
You can watch Go To Where the Light Is: Escaping North Korea on YouTube.
Anastasia Lin: The Witness Project documents the struggle that can be undergone mentally and spiritually even after a person has physically escaped Communism.
Anastasia Lin, grew up in China, but as a young adult moved to Canada with her parents. Away from the control of the Communist Party, she began to see that what she had been taught was a distortion of reality. She is now a model, actress and winner of Miss World Canada in 2015 and 2016.
Lin uses the platform that this notoriety has given her to speak out about conditions in China. She hopes to encourage other Chinese to do so as well. She continues on this crusade, although she and her family have been the recipient of threats by the Chinese government. She explains her motivations in the video linked below.
The film, directed by Hawk Jensen, is one of a series by The Witness Project. The films, sponsored by the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation (VOC), share the experiences of people who were and are persecuted by collectivist governments. The film won the Anthem Film Festival Excellence in Filmmaking, Short Documentary award. Anastasia Lin and other films in the series can be viewed at the Victims of Communism website.