Amateurs in Space, Venus and more to IDFA

IDFA. Max Kestner's "Amateurs in Space" is selected for the feature-length competition at the big doc fest in Amsterdam, which also has its eye on a new Danish film about female desire. This year's IDFA is up and running on 16 November.

One of the key documentary film events of the year, the IDFA festival in Amsterdam for their 2016 edition boasts a programme of 297 titles and eleven days of film screenings, panel discussions, industry meetings, exhibitions and much more.

When IDFA kicks off on November 16, eight Danish films will be on the bill in Amsterdam, of which four are taking part in the festival's competition programme. See a complete list of Danish participation below.

"Venus" is based on a multitude of very personal stories about female sexuality. Photo: Lea Glob and Mette Carla Albrechtsen

Four films in competition

"Amateurs in Space" by Max Kestner is selected for the main competition for feature-length documentary. Kestner, who made his name with films such as "Max by Chance" and "Blue Collar White Christmas," tells us the story of two men, Kristian von Bengtson and Peter Madsen, and their shared boyhood dream of travelling into space – in their own spaceship.

Three films will be competing in the First Appearance programme:

"Venus" by Lea Glob and Mette Carla Albrechtsen is an investigation of female desire in the year 2016. As part of their search for answers, the directors decide to make a film based on real women's erotic memories and reflections and send out a casting call. Through meeting the many women who respond to the call, the film spotlights a generation of young women and their perceptions of themselves as sexual beings. Glob's "Olmo and the Seagull," co-directed with Petra Costa, was selected for IDFA 2015.

"Dream Empire" by David Borenstein takes us to China and provides insight into a looming housing bubble and a grotesque dimension of the Chinese real estate market, where remote ghost towns for a few hours are turned into surreal, globalised cities buzzing with life by way of hired extras posing as celebrities, entrepreneurs, businessmen, models and much more.

"Who We Were" by Sine Skibsholt zooms in on a couple, Kristian and Mette Line, who have led a life like so many others with a family, a house of their dreams and plans for the future – until one day Kristian suffers a stroke, damaging one third of his brain and forever taking away their life as they once knew it.

Films in sidebars

"The War Show" by Andreas Dalsgaard and Obaidah Zytoon is selected for Best of Fests, a series of festival highlights from the past year. The film about the Arab Spring in Syria, following Zytoon and her friends travelling from euphoria to tragedy as the violence spreads in the country, won the main prize at Venice Days and was praised by the international press, both in Venice and later at the Toronto Film Festival in September.

"Those Who Jump" by Moritz Siebert and Estephan Wagner, also in Best of Fests, portrays the everyday life of Abou who is both protagonist and cameraman as we follow his tireless attempt, together with thousands of other African migrants, to climb the fence into the Spanish enclave of Melilla. The film was selected for the Berlinale where it won the Ecumenical Award and has since screened at more than a dozen festivals worldwide.

"The Wait" by Emil Langballe is selected for Panorama, a section for films displaying pressing political and social issues. The film follows Afghan Rokhsar Sediqi, 16, who lives in Denmark with her family. They have repeatedly been refused asylum and are now waiting for the final decision – a wait that is sure to change Rokhsar forever.

"A Place Called Lloyd" by Sebastian Cordes will be taking part in this year's special programme focusing on "slow documentary," The Quiet Eye. The director directs his camera at Bolivia's proud air carrier LAB that went bankrupt in 2008, where the employees nonetheless still come to work in the hope that their company will one day take off again. The film premiered last year at CPH:DOX.

Danes in juries and a panel on editing

Selected for this year's juries are Tine Fischer and Monica Hellström. Fischer, longtime head of CPH:DOX, will be participating in the voting for the best Dutch documentary, while producer Hellström of Final Cut for Real will be sitting on the jury for the children's documentaries.

Niels Pagh Andersen is invited to take part in a special programme dedicated to documentary editing, Assembling Reality, as the editor on the Norwegian-Finnish-Danish co-production "Mogadishu Soldier," selected for IDFA's main competition. Pagh Andersen is a prominent figure in Danish documentary film editing with such titles as Joshua Oppenheimer's "The Look of Silence" under his belt.

See IDFA awards to Danish films previous years

IDFA 16-27 November 2016

Danish films at IDFA 2016


Amateurs in Space / Max Kestner
Producer: Sigrid Jonsson Dyekjær for Danish Documentary Production


Venus / Lea Glob, Mette Carla Albrechtsen
Producer: Kirstine Barfod for House of Real

Dream Empire / David Borenstein
Producer: Jesper Jack for House of Real

Who We Were / Sine Skibsholt
Producer: Helle Faber for Made in Copenhagen


The War Show / Andreas Dalsgaard, Obaidah Zytoon
Producer: Miriam Nørgaard, Alaa Hassan for Fridthjof Film

Those Who Jump / Estephan Wagner, Moritz Siebert
Producer: Heidi Elise Christensen, Signe Byrge Sørensen for Final Cut for Real


The Wait / Emil Langballe
Producer: Helle Faber for Made in Copenhagen


A Place Called Lloyd / Sebastian Cordes
Producer: Niels Michael Wee for Breidablik Film


Mogadishu Soldier / Torstein Grude / Norway-Finland-Denmark
Danish producer: Peter Engel for Wingman Media
Feature-length Competition

How to Meet a Mermaid / Coco Schrijber / Netherlands-Denmark-Belgium
Danish producer: Jesper Jack for House of Real
Feature-length Competition