“Rocky” Theme Performed in North Korea

In the previous post we pointed out that Disney made it’s stage debut in the DPRK, but also in the same performance the theme from Sylvester Stallone’s “Rocky” was heard.

Here it is for your listening pleasure.

Disney characters on North Korean TV

This above image and clip is from North Korean TV where some conspicuous Disney characters made an appearance. Here’s the story from AP:

Mickey Mouse and Winnie the Pooh took the stage in North Korea during a concert for new leader Kim Jong Un in an unusual performance featuring Disney characters.

Performers dressed as some of America’s most memorable cartoon characters danced and pranced as footage from “Snow White,” “Dumbo,” “Beauty and the Beast” and other popular Disney movies played on a massive backdrop, according to still photos shown on state TV on Saturday.

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SEKs and The Lion King Mystery

In previous posts I’ve touched on North Korea’s animation industry, which, through a combination of cheap labour costs and skilled animators, has attracted a number of well known companies to outsource their movies (with or without their knowledge) to North Korea.

One of the main people behind this is animation legend called Nelson Shin. Shin, a South Korean, and his production company in Seoul has contributed the majority of the animation from such American classics as “The Simpsons” and the original “Transformers” cartoon.

Recognising the potential to build bridges between the North and South, it’s been suggested that Shin has outsourced a lot of work for major projects to North Korea. Controversial as it may seem, Disney’s “The Lion King” is rumoured to have been partly drawn in the DPRK.

One such clue to this fact comes in one of the film’s more controversial scenes when a cloud of dust kicks up from under Simba’s body seemingly spelling out the word “SEX”. A cheeky move from infantile animators… or perhaps it was actually our North Korean animators working for the company SEK sneaking in their companies name into the movie?

It’s often been denied by Disney (who would have had no part in a third party outsourcing move that would have been illegal under US law) that any of the movie was made there, but it is interesting to note.

A really important (purposeful) collaboration did take place, however, in 2005 when Nelson Shin produced the first ever animated film made and distributed in North and South Korea at the same time. “Empress Chung” agonisingly has never been released on DVD, but I would give my right arm to be able to see this film sometime soon… that or to find out if I can see SEX or SEK in the dust from under that lion.