Private Project


Filmed in March 2023, this film is a travelogue from the Chinese side of the border between China and North Korea, documenting what is seen and the current state of affairs.

After three years of closure from the COVID-19 pandemic, China gradually lifted its domestic and international travel embargo in December 2023. However, as North Korea has kept its gates closed since the 2020 epidemic, the border between the two countries is in a state of total closure, with barbed wire fences covering both sides of the river.

The border between China and North Korea is 1,420 kilometers long, divided by the Yalu River, Changbai Mountain, and Tumen River. There are cities, industrial zones, mines, and farmland along the North Korean side of the border. The towns on the Chinese side have observation decks and tourist facilities for people to see North Korea from a distance.

  • Yan Ma
  • Wen Cao
  • Yu Ren
    Camera Assistant
  • Yan Meng
    Drone Shoot
  • Xiaonan Wang
    Korean Translator
  • Menglun Qian
    English Title
  • Ning Ma
    English Translator
  • Menglun Qian
    English Translator
  • Project Type:
  • Runtime:
    37 minutes 38 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    June 29, 2023
  • Production Budget:
    6,211 USD
  • Country of Origin:
  • Country of Filming:
  • Language:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
Director Biography - Yan Ma

Ma Yan was born in 1984 in Tianjin, China.
He live and work both in Berlin and Beijing.
In 2012, He’ve completed his master’s degree in Fine Art in the Haut École d'Art de Perpignan, France.
From 2012 till September 2022, Ma Yan worked in the Documentary Film Division in Ai Weiwei’s studio in Beijing, China and Berlin, Germany.
Below is the list of the documentary films in which He participated.

You know what I mean (as Cameraman and Unit Director),2013
Human Flow (as Cameraman),2017
The Rest (as Cameraman), 2019
Vivos (as Cameraman), 2020
Coronation (as Line Producer), 2020
Cockroach (as Cameraman),2020
Rohingya (as Cameraman), 2021
Tree (as Cameraman and editor),2022
The Vanishing Village (as Director and Producer), 2022

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Director Statement

The history of the group consists of individual experiences. So, “Who am I?” becomes the most crucial question that film documentation provides a convenient and intuitive opportunity to answer. The documentary director observes and engages with the world purposefully, harvesting fragments of images and forming the complete representation in arranging and editing. The objective reality recorded is the subjective state. It’s creating a work of art when truth gradually appears warm and emotional in the changing light and shadow.