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image captionPolice mugshots of Siti Aisyah (left) and Doan Thi Huong, who were imprisoned for the murder of Klặng Jong-nam
When four years ago film-maker Ryan White heard about the airport assassination of Kyên ổn Jong-phái nam he knew the story was extraordinary but he had no intention of turning it into lớn a film. Months later he thought again - plunging hyên ổn into a dark world of intelligence operatives and geopolitics of which he knew almost nothing.

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White has been making documentaries for more than a decade. Probably the best-known is The Case Against 8, about the legal fight for gay marriage in California.

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"Then in 2017 we all registered how bizarre the Kyên ổn Jong-nam story was," he says. "The weird story of the half-brother of the North Korean leader being killed at Kuala Lumpur airport by women who smear hlặng with a lethal nerve agent - và then clayên it had been a prank for reality TV.


Klặng, aged 45, died of liên hệ with VX nerve agent in Malaysia even before he reached hospital. Within a couple of days two women were arrested for his murder. Doan Thi Huong was 28 and from Vietphái mạnh và Siti Aisyah was a 25 year-old Indonesian.


Kyên ổn Jong-phái mạnh had not been in favour with his half-brother Kim Jong-un, who had been supreme leader of North Korea since 2011. For some years he lived in exile in Macau & the new documentary includes file footage of Kyên Jong-nam speaking on camera.


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image source, Getty Images

But White only started khổng lồ perceive the story as a film project after an approach by journamenu Doug Boông chồng Clark.


"Doug Clark said he was writing a deep-dive investigative sầu piece for GQ magazine. He told me there was a lot more khổng lồ say than had ever hit the headlines - the timing cthua khổng lồ the Trump inauguration had meant that Americans didn't really follow the story for very long.


"Doug explained the two women in Malaysia were khổng lồ go on trial with a mandatory death penalty if they were found guilty. They were sticking lớn their story about being phối up to believe they were in a reality TV show when they smeared Kyên ổn.


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image source, Dogwoof
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"At that point it seemed inconceivable to lớn me that could possibly be a defence. And my experience with The Case Against 8 had made me vow never again to make a film built around a trial: it had involved more than 600 hours of filming with all the difficulty that brings in editing.


"But the more I thought about what Doug had told me the more I could see the trial could offer the three-act structure which you often look for in a documentary. So a few weeks later I was on a plane to Malaysia.


"It was only much later I started lớn think that what the two women were claiming sounded unlikely... but they were starting lớn convince me. Could they even be innocent?"


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image source, Dogwoof
image captionCCTV footage of Siti Aisyah meeting with what is thought to lớn be an agent before the assassination

CCTV footage has become a staple element of crime documentaries, often taken for granted. Without access to video of what happened at Kuala Lumpur International Airport on 13 February 2017 White says his film might have sầu been impossible to make. For more than a year, the police & other bodies in Malaysia refused khổng lồ release material, beyond a few moments already widely seen.


The director won't say how finally the CCTV recordings emerged but they're an extraordinary part of the film. Yet how does he know footage of the attaông xã on Klặng & of what followed (we see the women swiftly leave sầu the scene) hasn't been edited or manipulated?


"There were thousands of hours of footage to go through frame by frame - there were multiple cameras on everything. A small section is missing - otherwise we can trương mục for every moment. We had lớn buy special burner computers to lớn process all the DVDs - và we spent three months doing it."