Canadian human smuggling documentary ‘The Defector’ wins diversity prize

By on January 30, 2014


TORONTO—A documentary about human smuggling has won the diversity award from the Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television.

“The Defector: Escape from North Korea” claimed the prize for its “searing and powerful” look at a hidden part of the world.

The prize honours “excellence and the racial and cultural diversity of Canada.”

Writer, producer and director Ann Shin says her team included people from more than 15 different cultural backgrounds, including Chinese, Korean, German, Philippine, British, Jamaican, Iranian and Pakistani descent.

The film centres on a human smuggler who leads North Korean defectors across borders for a living.

The academy also administers the Canadian Screen Awards, which honour the best in homegrown film, television and digital projects. “The Defector” is up for two prizes in that race—for best direction in a documentary program and best documentary program.

The Canadian Screen Awards take place March 9 in Toronto.