In 2010, Danish director Mads Brugger received an email from a stranger who had seen a documentary he had made about North Korea. He asked if Mads would be interested in making a new film about his quest to become a member of his local North Korean ‘friendship’ association in Denmark to enable him to travel to Pyongyang undercover. There are Korean Friendship Associations (KFA) in countries around the world, and their members, bizarrely, are devoted to the glorification of the world’s last totalitarian communist dictatorship.
In this first of two extraordinary episodes, the stranger becomes a mole and rises through the ranks of the KFA, tunnelling his way ‘undercover’ to North Korea. On this mission, he befriends and wins the trust of the president of the KFA, Alejandro Cao de Benos, a Spaniard with a North Korean passport, who eventually asks him to help source wealthy investors interested in business deals with North Korea. The Mole reports back to Mads Br?gger and they begin secretly recording meetings, bringing in an actor and ex-criminal called ‘Mr James’ to play the role of a Scandinavian billionaire to see what business deals North Korea will bring them.
Seven years undercover, three to go… The Mole and Mr James have made it out of Pyongyang with a signed contract to build a secret underground factory where they can manufacture weapons and drugs. They are tasked with finding a location in a ‘friendly’ country where they can carry out their covert plans, and so fly to Uganda to inspect a private island for sale. The North Koreans join them and return to Pyongyang to draw up a blueprint.
President of the Korean Friendship Association, Alejandro Cao de Benos, comes up with a cunning plan to evade the tightening UN sanctions, involving the North Koreans, Mr James and a new player – a Jordanian businessman. As the mission progresses, numerous deals are offered to Mr James, taking him deeper into the dark side of the regime’s arms trade. With deals done and orders pending, can they keep up the deception?