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The Mass Media

True stories shine at GlobeDocs film festival

This past weekend, The Boston Globe held their ninth annual GlobeDocs film festival. The five-day event showcased documentary films from both local and global filmmakers. The screenings were held at both the Brattle Theatre in Cambridge and Coolidge Corner Theatre in Brookline. Despite the warm weather, many dedicated film buffs showed out to view the compelling stories featured in this year’s screenings.

On Saturday night, GlobeDocs hosted screenings of two brand new films at the Brattle Theatre. The first screening, “Beyond Utopia,” began around 4 p.m. By the end of the film, the entire crowd was blown away by this heartbreaking yet hopeful story. “Beyond Utopia” follows the treacherous journey of the last known escapees fleeing the oppressive state of North Korea since the COVID-19 pandemic.

The film follows the stories of two families, a mother and son and a family of five, both of which are assisted by pastor Seungeun Kim. Kim dedicates his time and efforts to aiding families and individuals who seek to escape from the dictatorship and oppressive nature of life in North Korea.

With real footage that will keep anyone on the edge of their seat, “Beyond Utopia” documents these perilous escapes as well as the harsh living conditions in North Korea. The never-before-seen footage and heartbreaking stories featured in this film expose the harsh realities faced by North Koreans. The film is both tragic and inspiring, as it aims at spreading awareness in hopes of intervention for North Korean citizens.

“Beyond Utopia” was directed by Emmy-nominated director Madeleine Gavin with former C.I.A officer and international politics expert, Sue Mi Terry on the production team. Gavin explains the film is “really deep and raw and experiential,” which is an understatement of the emotive nature of the film. “Beyond Utopia” was as harrowing as it was inspiring and served as a brilliant exhibition of life in North Korea.

The second screening of the night kicked off around 7 p.m. with the Massachusetts premier of the film “Breaking the News.” The film follows the origin story of “The 19th,”  a women-led independent news organization founded by journalist Emily Ramshaw. “Breaking the News” offers an inside look at the foundations, motivations and hardships faced by the women who worked to make “The 19th,” come to fruition.

“Breaking the News” details the often understated or overlooked nature of women’s issues in the media as well as the intersectional aspects of race and class that lack media exposure. Directed by Emmy-nominated director Chelsea Hernandez, “Breaking the News” tells the origin story of “The 19th” through the lens of its founders.

The film features behind-the-scenes footage of Zoom meetings, phone calls, news interviews, and wins and losses faced by the founders of “The 19th.” The way the story is told gives immense insight into the motivation necessary for women and minorities in the media and the challenges they face. Despite being a shorter film, “Breaking the News” successfully conveyed the emotional and inspiring origin story of “The 19th.”

The audience was completely silent for the entire 99-minute runtime, after which an eruption of applause could be heard. “Breaking the News” vastly differed from the earlier screening, but was effective in a unique way in sharing a true story that demanded to be heard. The film already has a 100 percent rating on popular movie review site, RottenTomatoes.com.

Saturday night at the GlobeDocs film festival was a great success, with the event ending the following night. GlobeDocs offers an inviting space for film enthusiasts and filmmakers alike to come together to share ideas and stories through the lens of film. As this year’s festival comes to a close, be on the lookout for the announcement of next year’s annual GlobeDocs Film Festival!