OFFICIAL FLASH DRIVE (32GB USB 3.0)
SCORE PROJECT NORTH KOREA
We're smuggling film culture into North Korea.
SCORE has partnered with The Human Rights Foundation to send thousands of flash drives containing Korean-subtitled version of SCORE as a cultural introduction to the world of film and music.
Volunteers unload bottles of rice containing hidden flash drives to be brought into North Korea.
Each flash drive is loaded with a Korean-subtitled version of SCORE: A FILM MUSIC DOCUMENTARY.
Score Project North Korea is the first program
to spread cultural diplomacy through
world film and music.
"North Koreans are desperate to catch up to 50 years of world culture lost on them because of censorship," said Matt Schrader, director of the award-winning documentary. "Film and music are the most expressive art forms on the planet, and they have the power to unite people across borders."
North Koreans have been cut off
from the outside world since 1945.
Lost on multiple generations are these worldwide phenomenona that have reverberated across the globe, yet North Koreans have been denied the ability to participate, until now.
North Korea and South Korea have been divided for 74 years. South Korea has flourished economically and culturally, while North Koreans have been subject to the authoritarian rule of the Kim regimes, which prohibit and propagandize outside culture, including film, books and internet access.
This has led to the rise of a thriving "flash drive" black market.
Flash Drive Diplomacy
These bottles of rice contain hidden flash drives to be smuggled into North Korea.
The rice also allows the bottles to naturally float on the water and wash ashore on nearby farms where they are found by citizens involved in smuggling efforts.
Yeonmi Park, a prominent North Korean defector, spoke in 2014 about her escape from North Korea, and how watching Titanic made her realize something was wrong in her country. To a culture-starved people, Park says smuggled Hollywood films offer “a window for us to see the outside world," and learn about concepts taken for granted in the West, like love stories.
North Korea has missed 74 years of culture.
The goal of this project is to introduce more than a half century of shared world culture to 25 million North Koreans, who have been banned from accessing the outside world since 1945.
In that time, the world has been transformed by the 20th and 21st centuries of film. But North Koreans have been prohibited from accessing Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Batman, James Bond, Harry Potter, Pirates of the Caribbean, Titanic, The Social Network, and many more.
Each flash drive donated will help support cultural diplomacy and the thriving entertainment black market in North Korea, changing culture from within.
While the identities of HRF’s partners on the ground and their locations are kept top secret, future plans include dropping bundles of flash drives via balloons so that citizens in rural areas can have access to the film. Donations can be made anonymously on the site as well.
Flash Drive Diplomacy
Each flash drive smuggled into North Korea is loaded with a Korean-subtitled version of SCORE and additional materials playable on portable video players distributed to citizens by the North Korean government.
About our operation.
SCORE funded and helped direct the distribution of thousands of flash drives for a top secret pilot program in 2018.
Brave volunteers moved drives by vehicle in trash bags, filled with water bottles of rice to disguise hidden flash drives. The drives were sent along currents of the nearby North Korean shore, landing on farms where they were found by North Korean smugglers.
Because Internet access is prohibited, citizens are granted the use of portable video players that play state-approved messages and propaganda on distributed USB flash drives. This had led to a burgeoning black market for world culture. HRF estimates the average flash drive is accessed by at least 10 people in North Korea.
“We appreciate Matt Schrader for sharing this amazing film with the people of North Korea,” said Jim Warnock, director of Outreach from The Human Rights Foundation. “The Human Rights Foundation believes SCORE is one of the most effective creative ambassadors for the power of cinema ever made, and we anticipate the film will spread rapidly for North Koreans to see."
While possessing a copy of the movie in North Korea is illegal, SCORE can be considered benign because it doesn’t have subversive political content, according to The Human Rights Foundation, which believes that's why bringing such a film to the country is crucial to open North Koreans to world culture in the next decade.
Workers plant rice at a co-op farm in Nampo, North Korea. Farms like these are ideal for smuggling flash drives into North Korea.
(Photo courtesy NPR.)
Why this project is unique.
Many programs have focused on subverting the top-down political regime of North Korea, but Score Project North Korea aims to subvert the propaganda efforts that discredit world film culture as an art form.
This bottom-up approach toward cultural diplomacy aims to empower North Korean citizens with an understanding of the world of cinematic storytelling they have no other way to access.
The SCORE team hopes to continue this project with your donations, including an operation to drop balloons containing more flash drives over rural areas.
Every flash drive purchase helps SCORE continue to fund these efforts.
Ji Seong-ho, a prominent North Korean defector featured in the 2018 State of the Union address, speaks about "Score Project North Korea" and the positive value of film culture diplomacy in the nation. (Courtesy of the Human Rights Foundation; Korean language only)
Is this dangerous?
Yes. North Korea is a dangerous place for truth, and citizens, if caught with contraband, can be imprisoned or worse. The Human Rights Foundation believes that's why the operations to create change are crucial to open North Koreans to world culture in the next decade. In addition, HRF believes that access to information is a fundamental right, not a privilege.
HRF estimates about 1.3 million North Koreans, or about 1 in 20 people, will have accessed black market flash drives by the end of 2019.
Life in North Korea is hard, with most of the country living in poverty. Children are encouraged to turn in their parents and other family members for violations of state policy, which often results in citizens being sent to concentration camps. Many attempt to flee the country at risk to their own life, including notable defectors such as Ji Seong-ho, who was a guest of honor at the 2018 State of the Union address for his bravery and advocacy. Seong-ho has praised SCORE's Project North Korea as a useful tool for contributing to cultural diplomacy.
The Korean-subtitled version of the film is included on each drive smuggled into North Korea.
OFFICIAL FLASH DRIVE (32GB USB 3.0)
SCORE PROJECT NORTH KOREA
Epicleff Media is a Los Angeles production company founded by director-producer Matt Schrader. Epicleff’s film SCORE: A FILM MUSIC DOCUMENTARY, which focuses on how composers create and have created some of the most iconic tunes in film history, became an international hit in 2017 when it became the #1 iTunes and Amazon documentary. The film also inspired the creation of Score: The Podcast, a variety show that highlights and interviews prominent film composers on major films and television shows.
The Human Rights Foundation (HRF) is a nonpartisan nonprofit organization that promotes and protects human rights globally, with a focus on closed societies. HRF unites people in the common cause of defending human rights. We focus our work on the founding ideals of the human rights movement, those most purely represented in the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), and the 1976 International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).
We believe that all human beings are entitled to:
Freedom of Speech and Expression
Freedom of Self Determination
The Right to Equal Treatment and Due Process Under Law
Freedom From Slavery and Torture
Freedom of Association
The Right to Leave and Enter Their Countries
Freedom From Interference and Coercion in Matters of Conscience
The Right to Acquire and Dispose of Property
Freedom From Arbitrary Detainment or Exile
The Right to Worship in the Manner of Their Choice
The Right to Be Able to Participate in the Government of Their Country
HRF hosts the annual Oslo Freedom Forum, a transformative annual conference where the world’s most engaging human rights advocates, artists, tech entrepreneurs, and world leaders meet to share their stories and brainstorm ways to expand freedom and unleash human potential across the globe.