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Beyond Utopia


A suspenseful, riveting portrait of the lengths people will go to gain freedom, Beyond Utopia follows various individuals as they attempt to flee North Korea, a land they grew up believing was a paradise. At the film’s core is a courageous pastor, a man of God on a mission to help a mother reunite with the child she was forced to leave behind, and a family of five embarking on a treacherous journey into the hostile mountains of China and through southeast Asia. Gripping, thrilling, and never more timely, Madeleine Gavin’s award-winning film embeds the viewer with the subjects as they attempt their perilous escape, palpably conveying life-or-death stakes.


  • IndieWire
    A real-life geopolitical thriller…
    It has to be seen to be believed.
    Christian Zilko
  • NY Times
    ’tense and engrossing.
    Ben Kenigsberg
  • Screen Daily
    A film you haven’t seen before…
    A first-class example of bravery and reportage. Gripping, moving
    Fionnuala Halligan
  • Los Angeles Times
    Urgent and inspiring. Its engine is one of hope and belief, against all odds
    Robert Abele
  • The Washington Post
    The engrossing documentary plays like a thriller, except the horrors are real
    Mark Jenkins
  • The Playlist
    A staggering achievement.
    You’re just as likely to feel your jaw dropping as you are your eyes welling up.
    Lena Wilson
    Feels instantly essential
    Brian Tallerico
  • The Guardian
    ★★★★ A Nail-Biting and Outstanding Documentary
    Peter Bradshaw
  • Next Best Picture
    You cannot help but be astonished. Thrillingly captured and absolutely riveting.
    Tom O'Brien
  • Harper's Bazaar
    Beyond Utopia will be talked about well into the awards season with its extraordinary vision
    Tomris Laffly
  • The Hollywood Reporter
    An astonishing real-life geopolitical thriller… The immediacy is remarkable...
    Daniel Fienberg
  • Forbes
    A must-see documentary for anyone who cares about the cause of freedom.
    Olivia Enos
  • Variety
    An escape story with suck-in-your-breath suspense. A staggering documentary
    Owen Gleiberman
  • US Today News
    A stunning documentary.
    “Beyond Utopia” looks behind the wall and brings light into the darkness.
    Lynn Henson

Festival Participation

  • Academy Awards - 2024
    Shortlist for Oscar in Best Documentary Feature
  • BAFTA Awards - 2024
    Nominee Best Documentary Film
  • Sundance Film Festival - 2023
    Winner U.S. Documentary Audience Award
  • Telluride Film Festival - 2023
  • Directors Guild of America, USA - 2024
    Nominee DGA Award Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Documentary
  • Hamptons International Film Festival - 2023
    Winner Excellence in Documentary Filmmaking, Winner Best Film
  • Sydney Film Festival - 2023
    Winner Best International Documentary Audience Award
  • Woodstock Film Festival - 2023
    Winner Best Documentary Feature, Winner Best Editing Documentary Feature
  • Jerusalem Film Festival - 2023
    Nominee In Spirit for Freedom Award Best Documentary
  • Stockholm Film Festival - 2023
    Nominee Bronze Horse Best Documentary
  • Bergen International Film Festival - 2023
    Nominee Checkpoints Award Best Human Rights Documentary
  • CPH:DOX - 2023
    Nominee F:ACT Award
  • Zurich Film Festival - 2023
    Nominee Golden Eye Best International Documentary Film

Additional Materials

Distribution Company

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