In 2010, Al Jazeera's 101 East strand gained remarkable access to North Korea's elite screen academy. 

It was where young actors were being trained in how best to extol the communist virtues of their country and their then Dear Leader, Kim Jong-il.  

The film was a fascinating insight into the workings of the secretive state's propaganda industry. 

Filmmakers Lynn Lee and James Leong spoke to REWIND about what it was like to be the first foreigners to film inside Pyongyang's University of Cinematic and Dramatic Arts.

"Before going there you think everyone is brainwashed, everyone is going to have to put up a certain performance," Lee told REWIND of her experience in North Korea. "And then you see that they are actually real kids as well. So you're always wondering, are you memorising something or are you being yourself?" 

Since 2010, Lee and Leong have not been granted permission to follow up with some of the students they interviewed for the film. It might be an indication that North Korea has become even more closed off under Kim Jong-il's son, Kim Jong-un. "It seems like he is tightening up on things and trying to assert himself," Leong said. "The fact that we can't get in to follow up says something." 

Source: Al Jazeera