image002The 5th Annual Peace on Earth Film Festival (POEFF), presented by Transcendence Global Media, NFP, in partnership with the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special events, presents the mainland U.S. premiere of  The Other Side of the Mountain on Saturday, March 9, 4 p.m. at the Chicago Cultural Center’s Claudia Cassidy Theater, 78 East Washington. The period romance, set during the Korean War, was filmed entirely on location in North Korea with an all-Korean cast and crew. American producer and screenwriter Joon Baiwill be in attendance and will participate in a Q&A in the GAR Ballroom of the Cultural Center immediately followingthe screening of The Other Side of the Mountain.

The Other Side of the Mountain begins during the Korean War when a young nurse in the small town of Chunamri, North Korea, saves a wounded South Korean soldier who has been left behind during battle. Brought together by the unfortunate circumstance of war, theirs is a fateful meeting. His identity is unknown to her until he must return to South Korea. With the promise to return, the nurse waits a lifetime for him. Separated by war and countries between them, the young man tries everything to get back to the North, but diplomatic relations between countries made it impossible for their reunion. As the years go by and their youth slips away, he finally gets an unexpected opportunity to fulfill his wish and return to her.

The first feature film co-produced between a U.S. company and North Korea (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea), The Other Side of the Mountain took six years to complete under difficult circumstances. The collaboration with the North Korean film industry was a delicate yet fruitful relationship. With the consent of the Department of Culture of North Korean Government, the American producer was granted access to produce this feature film with North Koreans. The film was shot entirely on location in North Korea. The cast and crew involved in the production of this film are North Korean, who received rations from the government for working on the film like any other job. The soundtrack features an orchestra and original songs composed by North Korean musicians. Due to the limited resources and technology in North Korea, they were granted permission to finish the post production in China. This was also the first instance of sync sound for a film made in North Korea. The sound equipment was brought over to Pyongyang and used for the first time in their film history. Never having produced a film of this scope, the nation is proud to present the film to the rest of the world.

Producer Joon Bai was born in Hae Ryong, North Korea in 1937. He experienced the ending of World War II in 1945 and was taken to South Korea as a refugee during the Korean War in 1950. He emigrated to the United States as an exchange student and earned a B.S.M.E. degree in 1956 at the University of Missouri and has grown his manufacturing business since then. He has been actively aiding North Korean orphanages since 1997. He realized the tremendous need for reunification of South and North Korea and began to write this script to support the cause. He is the producer of The Other Side of the Mountain, which is his first feature film.

Started in 2008, POEFF has been an annual event shining a light on filmmakers’ challenging perspectives regarding issues such as human rights, neighborhood violence, food deserts, domestic violence, bullying, war, world politics, environment, economics and more. The festival strives to put Chicago at the forefront of international efforts for peace and environmental recoveries, while bringing together filmmakers, academics and social activists in discussion panels and educational components. The 5th annual POEFF takes place March 7 through Sunday, March 10 at.  All screenings are free and open to the public.  Learn more


2013 POEFF schedule:


6:00pm – Festival Opening

6:20 – Graceland Girls (Jordan Salvatoriello, USA, 28 min.)

6:50 – A Whisper to a Roar (Ben Moses, Australia/USA, 95 min.) Midwest Premiere * director Ben Moses will be in attendance

9:15 – PAD YATRA  (Wendy J. N. Lee, India/Nepal/USA, 70 min.) Midwest Premiere


6:00pm – Festival Opening

6:11 – The Second Cooler (Ellin Jimmerson, USA, 87 min.) World Premiere *director Ellin Jimmerson will be in attendance

8:14 – Historias (Gloriana Fonseca-Malavasi, USA, 20 min.) World Premiere

8:35 –180 Grados (Fernando Kalife, Mexico, 105 min.) U.S. Premiere


10:00am – Festival Opening

10:11 –The Skin That Burns (Nargas Bajoghi, Iran/USA, 21 min.) World Premiere
10:33 – Children of Kabul  (Jawad Wahabzada and Jon Bougher, Afghanistan, 25 min.) World Premiere

10:59 – House Devil, Street Angel (Fivel Rothberg, USA, 30 min.) World Premiere

11:30 – Dream Chasers (Free Spirit Media, USA, 8 min.) World Premiere

11:38 – The Catalyst (Rachel Pontbriand, USA, 8 min.) World Premiere

12:06pm – Dancing Salmon Home (William Doolittle, USA/New Zealand, 67 min.) Midwest Premiere

1:14 – Parrot  (Craig Foster, Australia, 24 min.) Midwest Premiere

4:01 – The Other Side of the Mountain (Hak Jang, North Korea, 106 min.) Mainland U.S. Premiere *producer Joon Bai will be in attendance

6:09 – TRUST Alaska  (Kelly Matheson, USA, 8 min.) Midwest Premiere

6:18 – Raising Resistance (Bettina Borgfeld and David Bernet, Germany/Switzerland, 85 min.) Midwest Premiere

7:01 – Parallax (Paul DeNigris, USA, 22 min.) World Premiere

7:24 – Liberty Road (Jason Fraley, USA, 17 min.) Midwest Premiere

7:42 – Amazon Gold  (Reuben Aaronson, USA, 53 min.) Chicago Premiere

8:44 – Uprising (Fredrik Stanton, Egypt/USA, 85 min.) Midwest Premiere


11:00a – 778 Bullets (Angela Aguayo, USA, 18 min.) Chicago Premiere

11:19 – Ru (Water is Life) (Shawn Small, USA,

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19 min.)

11:39 – The Miracles on Honey Bee Hill (Rob Pondillo, USA, 23 min.) World Premiere

12:11pm – Right There (Florence Buchanan, USA, 17 min.) Midwest Premiere

1:28 – Child 31 (Charles Kinnane, United Kingdom, 31 min.) Midwest Premiere

3:55 – La Decima Onda (Francesco Colangelo, Italy, 15 min.) U.S. Premiere

4:11 – The Suffering Grasses (Iara Lee, USA, 52 min.) Chicago Premiere

6:15 – Not Today (Jon Van Dyke, India/USA, 105 min.) Midwest Premiere

8:16 – Awards Ceremony

POEFF’s mission is … raising awareness of peace, nonviolence, social justice and an eco-balanced world.