Rob Niemantsverdriet (Nijmegen, Holland, 1957) studied Journalism and after that Photo Journalism at the School for Journalism in Utrecht, Holland. He worked several years as a journalist and editor, but since 1994 he focusses completely on image making, initialy as a photographer and photo journalist. His photos were published in several news papers and magazines mainly in Holland. Further more he makes photographs for companies and organisations.
After a training as an ENG cameraman at the CameraCollege and as a video editor at the College of Multi Media, he also makes films for media, companies and organisations.
My Way in Pyongyang, filmed in North Korea, is his first documentary film.
In spite of his roots as a photographer, Rob prefers filming with good video cameras in stead of filming with dslrs. But for obvious reasons, for this film Rob used a small, inconspicuous camera, a 'hybrid' systemcamera, that looks like a small photocamera, but films beautifully as well. Further, he used a small external microphone and an audio recorder. Great advantage of the small camera is that it looked like I was taking stills. The camera has been checked several times, as mentioned in the film. Officials thought they were looking at still images, and that saved a lot of the footage. There were videoshots starting with an 'innocent' image, but when they would have played it as video they would have seen the shots with tanks, missiles and soldiers.
Making The Film
A fascinating view in daily life in a not everyday country, North Korea, the open-air museum of communism. Film maker Rob Niemantsverdriet and philosopher Henk Weltevreden traveled the country in 2012 and witnessed the celebrations of Kim il Sungs centennial.
The Land of the Great Leader, a totalitarian state. Theres the state, and theres the people. Whilst we are familiar with images of the Kims and the parades, we are perhaps less aware of the common people who continue to live, love and thrive within its all-embracing influence.
A girl playing Frank Sinatras song My Way on the accordion, the archetypal western celebration of the self-willed individual, an ode to finding your own way in life, in a country where the collective, the state and the party always come first. Children playing, people in the street, working, traveling, partying, paying their respect and bowing to Kim. These are just some of the scenes Rob Niemantsverdriet captured with a small, unconspicuous camera.
Traveling North Korea is truly an Alice in Wonderland experience... nothing is what it seems. What is real, what has been put on scene? And what has been put on scene for so long that it has become real again? Looking around in Kims Utopia, wondering what you really see...