Beyond Utopia (M) | BREC International Film Festival | BREC

Beyond Utopia (M)

Run Time 115 mins
Price From $12-$19
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Presented By BREC

USA | English and Korean with English subtitles | Documentary

Classification: M – Mature Themes and Violence
Director: Madeleine Gavin

View Sessions
11 January 2024
2:30 pm
17 January 2024
5:30 pm
25 January 2024
11:00 am
View Sessions


Follow the perilous high-stakes journey of several North Korean families as they attempt to escape the repressive authoritarian regime, revealing for the first time a world most of us will never see.

Using hidden camera footage, the film follows the perilous, high-stakes journey of several families as they attempt to escape oppression in North Korea, revealing for the first time a world most of us will never see.

A suspenseful look at the lengths people will go to gain freedom, Sundance Audience Award winner BEYOND UTOPIA follows various individuals as they attempt to flee one of the most oppressive places on Earth, a land they grew up believing was a paradise.

At the film’s core are a mother desperate to reunite with the child she was forced to leave behind; a family of five — including small children and an elderly grandmother — embarking on a treacherous journey into the hostile mountains beyond their border; and a man of God on a mission to help these desperate souls. Leaving their homeland is fraught with danger — severe punishment if caught and possibly even execution — as well as potential exploitation by unscrupulous brokers.

Family members who remain behind also may face retribution. Yet these individuals are driven to take the risk. Gripping, visceral, and urgent, Madeleine Gavin’s film embeds the viewer with these family members as they attempt their perilous escape, palpably conveying life-or-death stakes. The result is a singular, illuminating, and unforgettable experience.



2023 Sundance Film Festival – WINNER | Audience Award US Documentary

2023 Sydney Film Festival – WINNER | Best International Documentary

2023 Hamptons International Film Festival – WINNER | New York Women in Film & Television Award – Excellence in Documentary Filmmaking

2023 Hamptons International Film Festival – WINNER | Brizzolara Family Foundation Award for a Film of Conflict and Resolution Best Film




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