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90 Seconds in North Korea

DirectorRanko Paukovic
ProducerRanko Paukovic – Editson
CameraRanko Paukovic
EditorRanko Paukovic
SoundRanko Paukovic
ScreeningSaturday 9 November | 15:00 hours | Filmhuis Den Haag
Sunday 10 November | 16:30 hours | Filmhuis Den Haag
Length15 min
CountryCroatia/The Netherlands
SectionShort Films, Big Stories / Talents from the East

The Croatian-Dutch director has created poetic snippets of North Korean everyday life, showing the side of the country never present in the news. Screenings will be followed by Q&A with the director Ranko Pauković.


Every frame of this 15-minute journey through the streets and fields of North Korea transports the viewer into the shoes of an ordinary person living in the country. The director lets you glide along without imposing any moral judgements nor value statements. You can immerse in your own experience of people fixing a broken tractor by the road, while others are manually watering green public fields and adults dance and relax in nature. The slow-motion view greatly corresponds with the pace of life in a country far from the hectic western world.

Director’s statement

I spent 11 fascinating days in North Korea, and unlike almost all visitors to the country, I was able to move around more or less as I pleased, free from a regime minder or itinerary determined by a regime-approved tour group. Well in advance of my journey, I knew that I wanted to shoot a short documentary while I was there. It was ‘once in a lifetime’ chance that I had to take. Right from the start, I wanted to make a film about ordinary people: without marching soldiers, military parades, dictators or the statues of dictators that we see in every other film about North Korea. I wanted to give the audience an insight into the human side of this secretive, impenetrable state.

Festivals & Awards (selection)

Sheffield Doc/Fest, 2018 – World Premiere | Doc Fortnight, The Museum of Modern Art, New York 2019 | CinéDOC, Tbilisi 2019 | Rencontres Internationales in Louvre, Paris 2019 | Tehran International Short Film Festival, 2018 | Sarajevo Film Festival, 2018 | FIDMarseille, 2018 | Festival dei Popoli, Florence 2018

Director’s bio

Ranko Pauković studied film at the Academy of Dramatic Art in his hometown of Zagreb, Croatia. After graduating, he worked as an assistant editor on large international co-productions. He moved to The Netherlands in 1991 and worked as a sound editor with prominent Dutch directors. In 1993 he set up his own sound studio, Editson, specialising in sound design, sound editing and film mixing for artistically ambitious projects. A few years ago, he made his debut as a director with the feature-length documentary Bijela Kuća (White House), which was shown at several international film festivals and broadcast by Croatian National Television and Al-Jazeera Balkans. His last documentary “The End of Darkness” about the last European female mine workers premiered at Al-Jazeera Balkans Docs in Sarajevo. Ranko is also a visiting professor for the University of Zagreb, where he teaches sound design.