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:: Aim High in Creation

Director Anna Broinowski (Forbidden Lie$) sets out to make a film aimed at stopping the creation of a gas mine near her home in Erskineville, Sydney. Perplexed by the amount of corporate propaganda generated by the large multi-national energy companies that benefit from such an enterprise, she takes a homeopathic approach to the problem in the production of her short film-within-a-film, Aim High In Creation! By utilising the expertise of North Korean filmmakers, who produce works according to the Dear Leader and film buff Kim Jong-Il’s 1987 manifesto, The Cinema and Directing, Broinowski shines a light on the ideology of propaganda cinema and reveals a fascinating lesson in its production and application.

After a two year negotiation process to gain access to North Korean filmmakers Broinowski travels to Pyongyang to meet with North Korea’s film making elite, including directors, actors and composers. They read her script concerning her fight to save her local park from being ‘fracked’ and share their experience in film production, teaching her the principles of cinema as social and political purpose. What Broinowski brings to the screen shows this process in development, culminating in the purpose-made short film starring Australian actors, who sing, dance and use taekwondo moves in a melodramatic heroine-epic depicting the conquest of capitalist greed.

More broadly, the film encourages reflection on the passive/aggressive propaganda-as-advertising that proliferates in most countries beyond the borders of North Korea. Broinowski describes her time in North Korea as being a form of advertising detox as there are no billboards or commercials in the streets or on buses. Her film highlights another side of a country which is most often defined by harrowing tales of human deprivation, gulags and extreme secrecy. What she encounters are a generous and friendly group of filmmakers who provide entertainment to a cinema-going population of twenty-four million and who are not as cloistered and unworldly as many might imagine. When she asks a director if he knows what climate change is, possibly anticipating that he may not, he replies that “We don’t live on the moon!”