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Thousands of choreographed dancers, trucks full of grinning men with rocket launchers — it could only mean one thing — a birthday party.

KIM IL-SUNG’s beaming, cherubic face is everywhere. 18 years after his death, the image of his croaking-toad jowls and chicklet-white teeth still appears to hold sway over much of the North Korean population.

Documentary filmmaker, Patrick Wallner, who visited Pyongyang during the ‘madness’ of the birthday celebration and shot this video, had this to say:

Traveling to the Hermit Kingdom is already bizarre enough, but when we heard that North Korea would be celebrating the 100 year anniversary of the Great Leader & eternal president, Kim Il-sung, there was no way to let such an epic birthday party slip through our hands.

Laurence Keefe, Kirill Korobkov and I flew over to Pyongyang for two days to witness the madness. While skateboarding within the DPRK was our main intention, it was overshadowed by the celebrations & the ‘no sliding’ anywhere rule.



About The Author


Joshywashington is a Travel Media Ninja from Seattle who enjoys writing, climbing trees and strong coffee.

  • Priyanka

    Seen some documentaries on North Korea and one specifically on what goes into preparing for these celebrations( when he was alive to now) and I have to say- it’s insane. Kids practice for hours and hours and hours to perfect one jump or whatever step it is that they are doing.

    Completely crazy!

  • FadeOutFadeInSean

    That shot at 1:46 of the woman turning around is the sort of shot that photographers wait their whole lives to get.

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