Büro 39 - Nordkoreas schwarze Kassen

19th September 2020



International contest

Brief Synopsis:

North Korea is boxing far above its weight. How is it possible that one of the poorest countries in the world finances a nuclear weapons programme large enough to challenge the US? The answer: Thanks to Bureau 39, a legendary organisation nestled deep inside the government apparatus. Its aim: to procure foreign exchange by any means possible to provide Kim Jong-un’s regime with money. Printing dollars, smuggling arms, insurance fraud, human trafficking – nothing is too unscrupulous for North Korea’s money makers. Years of research have given the film team unique access to insiders who reveal the most spectacular cases and breath-taking tricks of how North Korea has been circumventing UN sanctions to finance its nuclear arsenal for decades.


Directed by: Sebastian Weis
Production: a&o buero
Producer: Tristan Chytroschek
Editing: Steffen Bartneck
Cinematography: Carl Gierstorfer
Running time: 52’
Country: Germany
Year: 2020
Contacts: Alexandra Obradovic │ alexandra@a-o-buero.de

Director’s note:

“Bureau 39” is an investigative journey. The search for clues takes us from one location to the next, where we will meet investigators, insiders – and victims. Step by step we will uncover the cynical system that holds the Kim regime in power.
Content-wise the film relies on years of investigative research. Each sequence will discuss a certain issue in depth, which in turn leads to the next question. Bit by bit we reveal the mechanisms of North Korea’s money making machine, and expose the structures behind it.
Sebastian Weis