Documentary is about filmmaking team whose lives are changed by Kim Jong-il.

Directors Rob Cannan (Three Miles North of Molkom) and Ross Adam are starting the shoot this week in Seoul for feature documentary The Lovers And The Despot.

The romantic story is about young filmmaker Shin Sang-ok and his actress wife Choi Eun-hee who built strong careers in post-war South Korea.

But when their careers are cut short after a scandal, they divorce and the actress is kidnapped by movie-obsessed Kim Jong-il and Shin is thrown into a North Korean concentration camp. They are reunited but with Kim dictating their career path.

The UK’s Tigerlily Films and Hellflower Film are producing in association with the Netherlands-based Submarine Films and France-based Pumpernickel Films.

The filmmaking team said: “With North Korea ever more present in the news, this is a timely film that will offer an insider’s perspective on the crazy world of the Kim dynasty. 

“Exploring the incredible story of Kim Jong-il’s kidnapping of a South Korean mega star and her famous director ex-husband, to aid his movie-making megalomania, the film spans Asia, Europe and the USA, with exclusive access to key players and unseen archive.”

Creative England, MEDIA and the Tribeca Gucci Documentary Fund supported development, production backers including the Seoul Film Commission and the Channel 4 BRITDOC Foundation.

A number of territories have been pre-sold.

The project was pitched at IDFA Forum in 2011.