Books & Films

6 p.m. tonight, Burke, Va.: Korean film “Winter Butterfly” and Q&A with the Director

On this site, I have followed the rise of a dissident culture among North Korean emigres, including poet, author, and public intellectual Jang Jin-Sung; artist Sun Mu; poet Lee Kay-Yeon; and playwright Jung Sung San. If you’re in the Washington, D.C. area, you have a chance to see “Winter Butterfly,” the work of film director Kim Gyu-min, based on his experiences in North Hamgyeong Province, North Korea, tonight. Kim is one of a small number of North Korean emigre film directors active in South Korea.

Winter Butterfly follows the life of a mother and son who live on the edge of North Korean society, barely scraping by and getting enough to eat by collecting and selling wood. The film follows the pair as they spiral into despair. Some viewers may find parts of the film disturbing.

Winter Butterfly 1Winter Butterfly 2

Director Kim Gyu-min is originally from North Hamgyoung Province, North Korea. He escaped North Korea in 1999, and resettled in South Korea in 2001. During a career spanning more than 12 years in South Korea, Mr. Kim has directed and produced several short films and documentaries, as well as directing and producing Winter Butterfly. In addition, he has written screen plays for numerous film productions, and most importantly, Mr. Kim has participated as staff in major South Korean film and TV productions, such as ‘The High Rollers’ (2006), ‘Into the Fire’ (2010), ‘Ode to My Father’ (2014), and as an assistant director in the groundbreaking film, ‘Crossing’ (2008). He is currently working on his next major full-length feature production, ‘The Gift of Love’.

Winter Butterfly has been screened at the U.N., Hong Kong, and Spain. It premieres tonight at the Pilgrim Baptist Church, 4925 Twinbrook Road, Burke, Virginia, at 6 p.m. The film is in Korean, with English subtitles. A question-and-answer session with the director, Kim Gyu Min, will follow the screening. Here’s a schedule of the U.S. screenings:

  • 10/24 Saturday:  Screening – Host: Pilgrim Baptist Church, Burke VA, 6pm (RSVP here)
  • 10/26 Monday:  Screening – Host: Chicago Jubilee Prayer Movement Network for North Korea; Location: The Korean Church of Chicago, 8-10pm (RSVP here)
  • 10/28 Wednesday: USA Premiere Screening – Host:  The Heritage Foundation, 2-4pm (RSVP here)
  • 10/31 Saturday:  Screening – Host: PSALT NK Philly Chapter; Location: CVC (Calvary Vision Church) PA, 3:30pm (RSVP here)
  • I’m told there may be another screeing Monday, November 2, sponsored by LiNK’s chapter at the University of Virginia, but couldn’t find information to confirm that (anyone?).


  1. Thank you SO MUCH for this great post and helping with the promotion! The UVA LiNK chapter will be hosting a screening on Nov. 2nd, and the venue on campus will be confirmed soon – once that happens I’ll update via this comments section.
    Also, there are still some dates available for screenings in NJ/NYC – please send me an email at for anyone interested in hosting a screening.
    The next DMV-area screening will be the premiere screening event at the Heritage Foundation on Wednesday, 10/28.
    Thank you Joshua!



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