Meet Pastor Kim. So, there’s this Pastor, Seungeun Kim, who’s out there saving North Korean defectors in the jungles between Vietnam and Laos. To him, it’s just another day at the office. He runs Caleb Mission and has helped more than 1,000 defectors escape from North Korea over the last 24 years. But let me tell you, what he does might seem normal to him, but for us watching the new documentary, “Beyond Utopia,” it’s mind-blowing.
Movie Magic: Inside “Beyond Utopia”
You gotta check out this documentary, now on Amazon Prime and Apple TV. It captures Pastor Kim’s rescues, like the Roh family begging for help in a shack on China’s Changbai Mountain. Then there’s footage of them hustling through the jungle at night, led by sketchy brokers. And get this, even in a safe house, they’re still influenced by North Korean propaganda, praising Kim Jong Un while running from his regime.
Behind the Scenes with the Director
The director, Madeleine Gavin, known for “City of Joy,” felt it was high time to bring North Koreans’ stories to light. She met Pastor Kim in 2019 in South Korea and was all in for showcasing the struggles of these ignored folks.
The Great Escape
Enter the Roh family, facing a grim fate back in North Korea due to their defected relatives. They hightailed it to China and luckily crossed paths with Pastor Kim. Together with Gavin and a small film crew, they embarked on this intense journey through Vietnam and Laos, aiming for the Thai border.
Faith at the Core
Meet Pastor Kim, it’s all about faith. He’s a Presbyterian pastor who began his journey by helping his wife, a former North Korean army commander, escape. His faith pushes him to follow the Bible’s teachings on helping those in need, guiding him in these daring rescues.
Faith in Action
Kim doesn’t push his beliefs on anyone, but he does pray openly. In a pivotal moment in the doc, he leads a prayer before a meal at a safe house in Laos. It’s the first time the Roh family heard words like “In Jesus’ Name.” Despite being new to Christianity, that meal and prayer meant the world to Kim.
A Spiritual Twist
Gavin, the director, isn’t religious, but during filming, she felt something profound, like this powerful force beyond our everyday understanding.
Wrapping It Up
“Beyond Utopia” isn’t just about crazy rescues; it’s a story of guts, kindness, and how people fight for their freedom. Pastor Kim and his crew, driven by their beliefs and compassion, are giving hope to those fighting oppression. This documentary? It’s a reminder of the unseen struggles and the amazing folks out there making a difference.