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VICE Teases North Korea Basketball Diplomacy Episode on Reddit

June 14, 2013

VICE North Korea basketball diplomacy trip rodman

By Gilbert Falso :: 6:08 PM

VICE, the HBO TV series spawned from the magazine and web series of the same name, made history earlier this year when they sent a production crew along with members of the Harlem Globetrotters basketball troupe to North Korea with NBA star Dennis Rodman.

They were shooting an episode called “Basketball Diplomacy,” and today, some of the VICE staffers appeared on Reddit and hosted an “Ask Me Anything” (AMA) discussion about their trip to North Korea. The episode airs tonight on HBO.

In the AMA, Jason Mojica, VICE Producer, and Jake Burghart, Director of Photography for VICE, answered questions from the Reddit community abut the trip.

The top question was posted by a Redditor with the handle rapgamebettywhite, and asked, “What was the sketchiest moment on this trip?”

To that, Burghart replied, “Leaving the country literally felt like the end of Argo. We were up all night quietly hiding footage, trying to encrypt things. We didn’t really feel relieved until the planes wheels left the ground.” Adding to that, Mojica said, “Crazier that we all kissed the ground and cried “freedom” when we landed… in China.”

Peppered between jokes about North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and references to “North Korea is best Korea,” Mojica and Burghart fielded a variety of questions about their surrounds and interactions with the North Korean people, as well as how they were able to orchestrate such a trip to a country that generally shies away from America and American culture.

Mojica realls a moment when he witnessed the bodies of the previous two North Korean leaders lying in state. “I spent every moment trying to memorize the rooms which held their embalmed bodies,” he said. Although given a good amount of access across the country, VICE staffers were frequently not allowed to videotape or take pictures of things, the bodies included.

The 30-minute episode airs tonight at 11:00 EST on HBO. Mojica hopes to also release a longer version with extended footage from the trip on the web in the near future. Below is a preview clip of tonight’s episode.