My friends and I thought it would be cool to go to North Korea, so in June 2012 we did just that. Government minders picked us up at the airport and took us on what felt like the strangest four-day amusement park ride in the world. We arrived in the middle of Children’s Week. Young Pioneers (similar to Hitler Youth) from all over the country flooded into Pyongyang for several days of fantastical public rallies, all seemingly meant to bolster the personality cult of their new leader, 28 year old Kim Jong Un. Propaganda vans drive through the city blasting cheery slogans. People all over Pyongyang walk with purpose, but you can never figure out where they’re going. Most of the lights in the city go off at 11pm. They let you ride the Metro for one stop, but your fellow passengers may be actors. The rest of the Metro might not function. In short, nothing you see is verifiably real. It’s a Stalinist Disneyland on acid where everyone you meet smiles but the far-off fields are filled with elderly laborers snipping individual blades of grass with scissors. Surprisingly, they let me film and photograph everything but soldiers. There have been plenty of excellent NK documentaries that focus on the country’s history or try to pull back the curtain on what’s really going on, so I chose to focus solely on what was presented, i.e. the relentless stream of hyper-positive propaganda. Since we are well aware that their country has devolved into a quasi-religious cult with one of the worst human rights records in the world, the government’s facade is no less unsettling than the truth that lurks beneath it.