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RUNTIME: 13:15

21,500 balloons, 27 hours and one intense competition: meet Canada’s balloon twisting team

Fit to be Tied chronicles the journey of Canada’s best balloon twisting artists as they take the stage at the 2018 World Balloon Convention in San Diego — the most prestigious event in the international balloon twisting community.

Teams from across the globe are pitted against each other in epic battles of creativity and technique, from short individual twisting competitions to the large sculpture competition — an intense event that sees teams create balloon sculptures as large as a room.

Canada’s Twisted Team is made up of balloon twisters from across the country. Despite huge geographical distances between them, they’re a close-knit team that uses extensive research and meticulous planning to prepare for their competitions.

Their biggest challenge at the convention: twisting their way through 21,500 balloons in 27 hours on a quest to become the world large sculpture champions. This competition challenges teams to create enormous, whimsical creations that push the boundaries of balloons, built from carefully-executed plans in a race against time (where most competitors eschew sleep for more time on the convention floor).

Twisted Team member Derek Wong also competes in the individual 12-minute event. The former high school IT manager goes head-to-head with his longtime hero, Japan’s Takehero Kai. In this single-person competition, twisters create one individual sculpture that’s judged for individual style. Derek must battle fatigue and rely on his well-honed skills, acquired through years of practice, if he is to have any chance at displacing  Kai, known as “the god of twisting.”

Fit to be Tied is a story about an unconventional art form, but it’s also a story about belonging — a look at how an unusual skill has brought together a wonderful group of passionate people who have found a home in the balloon twisting community.