North Korean animation

Radio 4’s weekly travel programme, Excess Baggage, had a slot on North Korea on Saturday morning (7 Oct). It was an interview with Guy Delisle, a French animator. Here’s the blurb on the programme from the BBC website

North Korea is one of the most secretive countries in the world, with few visitors, especially westerners. It is however in desperate need of foreign investment and in recent years has opened its doors to some ‘labour intensive’ work from Europe. The field of animation where thousands of individual frames need to be drawn has benefited from it. Guy Delisle, a French animator, travelled to the capital Pyongyang to supervise the drawing of cartoons and talks about his experiences in a country where the Iron Curtain still exists.

Those who attended the Birkbeck conference earlier this year will recall that there’s a sweatshop animation outsourcing service in South Korea, where low-paid workers draw the “in-between” frames (Yoon Ae-ri’s talk). It seems that they’re now being undercut by North Korean animators: Delisle

travelled to North Korea and stayed in its capital Pyongyang on a work visa for a French film animation company which had subcontracted individual frames of cartoons. He has recounted his experience in his graphic novel Pyongyang: Journey in North Korea.

You can listen to the interview at the Excess Baggage website for the next few days. The piece starts 19-20 minutes into the programme and lasts about 8 minutes. You can get Delisle’s book (published last week) in your local bookstore right now.

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