A festival amid uncertainty & tension

In 1989, as the Soviet bloc crumbles and China fends of a democratic revolt, the head of Canada’s Young Communist League leads a delegation to an international student festival in one of the most isolated and enigmatic nations in the world.

In the summer and fall of 1989 the world witnessed a string of revolutionary movements and challenges to state authority, ending in one of the most profound geopolitical realignments of the 20th century. From the end of the military dictatorship in Chile, to the nascent yet ultimately crushed democracy movement in China, to the fall of the Soviet bloc and Berlin Wall, 1989 ushered in a new era for citizens around the world.

In the midst of the tensions, uncertainty and confusion wrought by these geopolitical events, organizers of the 13th World Festival of Youth and Students pressed ahead with their plans for an audacious celebration of global solidarity in Pyongyang, North Korea – one of the very few states that remains defined by the terms of the Cold War. In Canada, long time activist Chris Frazier was handed the task of assembling a Canadian delegation to North Korea. The film follows Frazier and a number of other delegates as they recount their participation in the Festival as world events continued to unfold around them.

Twenty-five years after the fall of the Berlin wall, The Canadian Delegation reminds us of a pre-9-11 world, a point in history where political contradictions thrived and uncertainty was embraced.