Anyone who knows me knows that I talk a lot. I’m always talking. It can be really annoying sometimes, I’m sure. After I learned about the horrible history of North Korea, about the life there today, I continued talking – that didn’t change – but I felt compelled to talk about the situation there. I felt a responsibility, I felt that I knew this thing that others didn’t, and I felt that I needed others to know as well. And to be honest, I was surprised how many people didn’t know. So I figured I could change that. And I hope that on July 8th, when our film festival is all done, you walk away at least a little more curious about North Korea. I hope you feel this responsibility as well. We can’t necessarily go into North Korea and change the way life works there. We can’t snap our fingers and make things better instantly but we do have the power to talk. To talk to others. We have the ability to spread the truth — the real one — to others. Awareness is so important.

I’ve read a lot about North Korea, have met many North Koreans and have heard so many of their sad stories, but so many happy ones as well. Either way, North Koreans have a story that’s worth hearing and worth knowing about.

Remember, you have the power to tell others. The freedom to tell others. The right to tell others. You should never hesitate to do so.

Gilad Cohen