Tuesday, January 30, 2007


What a great weekend in Chicago! The chilly weather couldn't keep hundreds of people from showing up to see the film on its opening weekend. Chicago residents were deeply interested in the story and asked a lot of great questions during our Q&As on opening weekend. The Gene Siskel Film Center is a great venue and the staff were excellent to work with. Thanks Chicago for making our trip there a memorable one! Next stop, Portland, Oregon. The film will open there this weekend.

Portland Oregon Premiere!
Hollywood Theatre
Feb. 3, 4, 10, 11
Hollywood Theatre
4122 N.E. Sandy Blvd.
Info: (503) 493-1128

Saturday, January 27, 2007


Hi again,

Wanted to point this out from the World Economic Forum in Switzerland. This story ran on the Bloomberg wires. The reporter got the title of our film wrong calling it "Megumi" which is the title in Japan but not in the rest of the world where it's called "ABDUCTION".

Japan Brings Abductions Film to Davos; Threatens More Sanctions
By Yoolim Lee

Jan. 26 (Bloomberg) -- Japan's government brought a film to Davos to raise awareness among 2,500 political and business leaders about the abductions of Japanese nationals by North Korea and threatened more sanctions against the communist nation.

Yuriko Koike, special national security adviser to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, invited attendees and journalists at the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum to a sushi reception to urge them to see ``Megumi,'' a documentary about 13- year-old Megumi Yokota, who was kidnapped in 1977 to train North Korean leader Kim Jong Il's Japanese-speaking spies.

This isn't the first time Japan is trying to bring international awareness to the abductions, which occurred in the 1970s and 1980s. North Korea has admitted to kidnapping 13 Japanese and allowed five to return in 2002. Japan says 17 citizens were kidnapped and has imposed sanctions on the country for the kidnappings and for its nuclear test in October last year.

``The Japanese government's position is to apply pressure and hold dialogue,'' Koike said. ``If existing sanctions don't work, we have to think about imposing heavier sanctions.''

Tensions over the kidnappings were exacerbated by North Korea's missile tests in July last year and its announcement on Oct. 9 it carried out its first atomic bomb test. Japan has imposed sanctions beyond those imposed on Oct. 14 by the United Nations for the nuclear test.

Revising Policy

The nuclear test prompted calls in Japan to revise the country's purely defensive security policies. Abe today in a speech in Parliament reiterated he wants to rewrite Japan's constitution, which outlaws the use of force.

Koike, 44, was a panelist for a discussion on ``China, Japan and Korea -- Managing a New Power Centre'' in Davos, where leaders are gathered this week to discuss issues ranging from energy security and climate change to the rising power of China and India.

``Japan has a special issue with North Korea, which is the abduction one,'' Koike told a press conference, following her panel session.

The attempt to raise awareness of the issue comes after stalled talks among China, Japan, North and South Korea, Russia and the U.S. on ending North Korea's nuclear program were resumed at the end of last year.

North Korea held talks in December with the U.S. on financial sanctions imposed because of allegations of money laundering and counterfeiting by North Korean companies. The financial sanctions are separate from the UN restrictions.


Hey everyone...arrived in Chicago Thursday to open the film at the Gene Siskel Film Center. What a great theater! Got a wonderful review in the Chicago Tribune and Chicago Reader and also appeared on the NPR affiliate WBEZ. Hear the interview by going to this website:


The weather's decent by Chicago standards. Usually, we'd be freezing our #$@ off but no such experience so far. A little chilly is about the most I can say. We'll be in Chicago all weekend so if you know anyone, tell them we'll be doing Q&As at the following location until Sunday, January 28th:

ABDUCTION The Megumi Yokota Story
Gene Siskel Film Center
164 N. State Street
Chicago, IL
tel: (312) 846-2800

See you there!

Friday, January 19, 2007


Abduction issue will get national audience

For Immediate Release

Washington, DC An award-winning film about a 13-year-old Japanese girl kidnapped by North Korean spies will get a national audience in Canada this weekend. “ABDUCTION The Megumi Yokota Story” will air on Canada’s CBC television on Sunday, January 21st at 10pm Eastern Time (7pm Pacific). The film will be shown on CBC TV’s “The Passionate Eye”, a documentary program that is very popular among Canadian viewers.
“We’re from Canada so we’re very proud and excited to be showing this film in our native country,” said Chris Sheridan, who directed the film along with his wife, Patty Kim. “We know Canadians have good hearts and when they see this story, they, too, will be touched by the story of the Yokota family.” The filmmakers currently reside in Washington, DC where they run their own production company, Safari Media.
The CBC broadcast will be the first airing of the program to a nationally-televised audience. Other broadcasters like the BBC in the United Kingdom, BeTV in Belgium, Eesti Television in Estonia, ABC TV in Australia, Danish Broadcasting Corporation in Denmark, DBS TV in Israel will also air the film this year.
“ABDUCTION The Megumi Yokota Story” is currently playing at the Cinema Village in New York where it has been held over a second week due to popular demand. The film’s also been receiving rave reviews from publications like the New York Times, the New Yorker, the New York Post, the New York Daily News, New York magazine and others.
“ABDUCTION The Megumi Yokota Story” is the heart-breaking tale of a Japanese girl kidnapped by North Korean spies in 1977. The film follows her parents’ emotional journey to try to get her back.
The film’s Executive Producer is Oscar-winning director Jane Campion. The film is produced in association with the BBC with the assistance of Fuji TV.

For more film info, visit www.abductionfilm.com
For more info on the CBC, visit www.cbc.ca/passionateeyesunday/index.html
For media inquiries, please contact XXXX (CBC contact)


MTV interviews Patty outside the Cinema Village (right).

The film's been held over a second week due to popular demand!!

Cinema Village
22 E. 12th Street
(near University Place)

Monday, January 15, 2007


Check out our interview on the NPR affiliate in NY. Click here:


We've been getting some great reviews in the NY press, here's a sampling:

by Matt Zoller Seitz

"“Abduction: The Megumi Yokota Story” is an engrossing nonfiction detective tale about the 13-year-old girl of the title, who vanished on the way home from school in Niigata, Japan, in 1977. But it also succeeds as a thumbnail review of a painful chapter of Asian history, and as a portrait of lives transformed by trauma."

by Anthony Lane

"The testimony gathered here gives the film an enduring grip, and none of us could hope to match the forbearing persistence of Megumi’s parents. The worst aspect is, as so often, the most prosaic: the main reason that North Korea stole human beings was because it needed language teachers for its spies. All that grief, just for a chance to talk."

V.A. Musetto

"Abduction uses interviews, vintage photos and re-creations to tell the sad story of love and hope in riveting, suspenseful style. So powerful is this film, it brought tears to my eyes."

by Jack Mathews

Canadians Chris Sheridan and Patty Kim's spellbinding documentary focuses on the relentless search for the truth by Megumi's parents and families of other abductees.


"When a 13-year-old girl named Megumi Yokota disappeared in 1977, her Japanese family and neighbors frantically searched for her, to no avail. This fascinating documentary by Chris Sheridan and Patty Kim reveals that Yokota was just one of many Japanese citizens kidnapped by North Koreans and used to train Kim Jong Il’s Japanese-speaking spies. Through interviews with surviving family members, journalists, and a North Korean defector, this film narrates the emotional tragedy of the Yokota family’s three-decade nightmare and reveals an underreported story shaping East Asian politics."

by Gene Seymour

The facts, alone, are compelling: In November, 1977, a 13-year-old Japanese girl named Megumi Yokota went missing on her way home from school. Her devastated parents try everything they can to figure out what's happened, but to no avail. It takes 20 years for the astounding truth to reach them and the rest of the nation: Megumi is one of at least a dozen young Japanese men and women kidnapped by North Korean spies who used them to learn how to infiltrate their homeland.

If all this sounds to Western sensibilities like an internationally flavored episode of "Law & Order," it's because this story, while obviously very big in the Far East, has been relatively under-reported in the United States. The temptation to juice up the squalid elements of this story would be hard to resist for most filmmakers. Yet, for the most part, directors Chris Sheridan and Patty Kim manage to balance the story's jolting, world-shaking elements with the more intimate details, gathered over several years, of how Megumi's parents cope with their loss and sustain their hopes despite constant setbacks.

These sweet people seem headed into a 30th year of waiting for a closure that seems dangled just out of their reach.

Thursday, January 11, 2007


(l-r) Henry Kissinger, Patty Kim, Chris Sheridan

Hi all...Sorry I didn't write sooner. It's been a little hectic. On Monday, we finally had our opening at the United Nations. The evening was well-organized and the Japanese Consul General and Japanese Mission to the United Nations did a good job at getting the word out about the film. Henry Kissinger, President Nixon's National Security advisor and sometimes advisor to President Bush, showed up and was genuinely interested in the subject of the abductions. The media was all over him and, as with other screenings, it made the nightly news in Japan. He was very curious about the film and wanted to know a lot more about the abductions of Japanese people. It was a pleasure to have got the chance to share the story with him. So far, the New York press has been pretty good on the film. Below is a small sampling of some of the reviews leading up to Friday's opening. Remember, if you know anyone in the neighborhood, tell them it opens at Cinema Village on Friday, January 12th (22 E. 12th Street at 2nd Avenue). Screenings daily at 1,3,5,7 and 9:10pm. That's all for now. More later.



When a 13-year-old girl named Megumi Yokota disappeared in 1977, her Japanese family and neighbors frantically searched for her, to no avail. This fascinating documentary by Chris Sheridan and Patty Kim reveals that Yokota was just one of many Japanese citizens kidnapped by North Koreans and used to train Kim Jong Il’s Japanese-speaking spies. Through interviews with surviving family members, journalists, and a North Korean defector, this film narrates the emotional tragedy of the Yokota family’s three-decade nightmare and reveals an underreported story shaping East Asian politics.


3 out of 4 STARS

Abduction: The Megumi Yokota Story
Cast: Sakie Yokota and Shigeru Yokota
Directed by: Chris Sheridan and Patty Kim
Screenplay by: Chris Sheridan and Patty Kim
Distributor: Safari Media
Runtime: 85 min
Rating: NR
Year: 2006

ith its puzzling missing person's story and ominous aesthetic comprised of interviews, dramatic recreations, and ghostly still photographs, Patty Kim and Chris Sheridan's Abduction: The Megumi Yokota Story initially seems like an expanded episode of Unsolved Mysteries. That alone wouldn't be a bad thing, as NBC's creepy 1980s serial was always meatier than its exploitative premise suggested. Yet Kim and Sheridan's doc eventually proves itself to be a more intricate and chilling work of real-crime nonfiction than its TV forerunner, recounting its decades-spanning case with equal measures of wrenching suspense, outrage, and empathy. In November 1977, 13-year-old Japanese girl Megumi Yokota went missing on her way home from school, a disappearance that devastated her devoted parents and remained largely unanswered until, 20 years later, the astonishing truth came to light: Megumi, as well as at least 12 others (and likely many more), had been kidnapped by North Korean spies, who used their foreign captives as tools to learn how to pass themselves off as authentic Japanese. What ensued was a vigorous battle by the victims' families to motivate Prime Minister Koizumi to retrieve their loved ones, an endeavor rife with implications both global (regarding North Korea's famine crisis and negotiations over their nuclear weapons program) and intensely personal. Sheridan and Kim wring a good deal of tension from their headline-making tale as reporters and government investigators attempt to uncover North Korea's dastardly plot, though their film's lasting impact comes from its compassionate portrait of parental devotion. A kind duo driven to discover the truth about their missing child through organized protest and political pressure, Megumi's mom Sakie and dad Shigeru are repeatedly offered, and then denied, any substantial amount of closure, a frustration heartbreakingly conveyed via Sakie's dream for Megumi—in which the girl would return home to Japan and feel "liberated" and "free" from confinement—that stands as a surrogate wish for herself. Abduction pushes its poignant buttons while casting Megumi's kidnapping as a heinous crime, yet to its credit, it consistently does so with a deftly understated, devastating touch, as when the recorded sound of Megumi delivering a choral solo gives fleeting voice to a girl whose silence (not unlike that of Kim Jong Il) hangs heavy over the still-unresolved proceedings.

Friday, January 05, 2007


Abduction issue will get international audience

For immediate release

Washington, DC An award-winning film about a Japanese girl kidnapped by North Korean spies will get its most important audience yet when it opens next week at the United Nations. “ABDUCTION The Megumi Yokota Story” will make its New York debut Monday at the UN before diplomats and policymakers.
“This is definitely the most important audience we’ve had,” says Chris Sheridan, who, along with his wife Patty Kim, directed and produced the 85-minute documentary. “We really hope people will see this film and finally understand why this is one of the most important human rights issues in Asia today.”
The film follows Megumi’s parents in their 30-year battle to try to get their daughter back. Called “extraordinary” by the Los Angeles Times and “heartbreaking” by the Washington Post, “ABDUCTION The Megumi Yokota Story” has won six awards and packed theaters all over the world.
Monday’s screening at the UN precedes the film’s New York theatrical debut at the Cinema Village (22 E. 12th Street) where the general public can see it starting January 12th. In November, the film held a very successful premiere at the National Geographic Society in Washington, DC before it opened to the general public. The film received critical praise and was extended four weeks due to popular demand.
“ABDUCTION The Megumi Yokota Story” is produced in association with the BBC and with the assistance of Fuji TV.
The Executive Producer of the film is Jane Campion, the Oscar-winning director of “The Piano”.

For press inquiries, please contact Alexis Thomas at (212) 414-0408
For film info, visit www.abductionfilm.com