Festival hits, the art of editing and artificial intelligence at IDFA

IDFA. Intimate, personal accounts of being on the run, the Syrian revolution and American school shootings are part of the broad Danish imprint on this year's IDFA. Get the full overview of films and filmmakers at the leading documentary festival, opening November 17.

The leading documentary film festival IDFA in Amsterdam opens November 17 with films from more than 80 countries. Representing Denmark are a number of films selected for a broad variety of the festival's sections. See the full list below. 

Classic series Best of Fests and Masters

Three films, all produced by Final Cut for Real, are selected for the Best of Fests section, presenting festival highlights from the past year.

'Flee' by Jonas Poher Rasmussen, an animated account of a Danish-Afghan man's dangerous journey to safety, has a solid track record of festivals and awards – ranging from Cannes to Sundance, Annecy, Telluride and Toronto. The film is selected as the Danish Oscar submission and won the Nordic Film Council's top prize earlier this week.

IDFA 2021

IDFA is short for International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam. The festival was founded in 1988 and is considered the world's biggest festival for documentaries. 

The festival runs this year from 17-28 November. Read more at idfa.nl.

Danish films have been strongly represented at the festival through the years. See our historical overview.

'Our Memory Belongs to Us' by Rami Farah and Signe Byrge Sørensen is headed to Amsterdam with a Special Mention from the main competition at CPH:DOX and a humanitarian award from DokuFest in Prizren, Kosovo. The film follows three Syrian activists in Paris, who are forced to reflect on the time from the revolution's first years and their lives in present day.

'Raising a School Shooter' by Frida and Lasse Barkfors was selected for Nordisk Panorama as well as the Nordic competition at CPH:DOX. The directors talk to parents of American school shooters, including a parent of one of the teeangers behind the Columbine Massacre of 1999. 

The series Masters celebrates auteurs in documentary filmmaking. Part of the lineup is Jon Bang Carlsen's 'The Banality of Grief', which will have its international premiere in Amsterdam. The film is a cinematic love letter to the director's late wife and a journey to the spaces they shared during their life together.

In addition, a number of producers will participate at IDFA with international co-productions. Ulrik Gutkin is represented with the Finish film 'How to Kill a Cloud' and Malene Flindt Pedersen is at the festival with the Norwegian football film 'Kids Cup'. 

'Artificial Awakening' by Jakob la Cour. Photo: Makropol

Artificial Intelligence from Makropol

Two Danish works tackle artificial intelligence as a creative tool. 

Through virtual reality equipment Jakob la Cour's 'Artificial Awakening' invites the audience into a universe exploring the possibilities of a spiritual dimension in artificial intelligence. 'Kaspar' by Piotr Winiewicz is a project in development, centering on artificial intelligence as a filmmaking tool. 

The Danish company Makropol, who has made a name for itself in recent years with interactive film projects, is producing both works.

Niels Pagh Andersen and the art of editing

One of the most significant film editors in Danish documentary filmmaking will have a special platform at this year's IDFA. 

Niels Pagh Andersen has been in the craft for more than 40 years and has edited award-winning films such as 'The 3 Rooms of Melancholia', 'The Act of Killing', 'The Look of Silence' and 'Songs of Repression'. 

At the festival, he presents his new book, 'Order in Chaos'. He will also be sharing insights, inspiration and practical knowledge on the art of editing documentaries in conversation with the festival's artistic director Orwa Nyrabia. 

Article created 4 November, updated with additional information 17 November 2021.

Danish films and filmmakers at IDFA 2021

Best of Fests

  • Flee by Jonas Poher Rasmussen. Produced by Monica Hellström, Signe Byrge Sørensen and Charlotte de La Gournerie for Final Cut for Real.
  • Our Memory Belongs to Us by Rami Farah and Signe Byrge Sørensen. Produced by Anne Köhncke for Final Cut for Real.
  • Raising a School Shooter by Frida and Lasse Barkfors. Produced by Anne Köhncke for Final Cut for Real.
  • Co-production How to Kill a Cloud by Tuija Halttunen (Finland, Denmark). Danish co-production by Ulrik Gutkin for Copenhagen Film Company.


  • The Banality of Grief by Jon Bang Carlsen. Produced by Jon Bang Carlsen for C&C Productions.

DocLab Competition

  • Artificial Awakening by Jakob la Cour. Produced by Mads Damsbo for Makropol and Jakob la Cour for Jakob la Cour Studio.

IDFA Competition for Youth Documentary

  • Co-production Kids Cup by Line Hatland (Norway, Denmark, Finland). Danish co-production by Malene Flindt Pedersen for Hansen & Pedersen.

Retrospective serie: Future Tense

  • Co-production State of Dogs (1998) by Peter Brosens og Turmunkh Dorjkhand (Belgium, Mongolia, Denmark and others). Danish co-production by Lise Lense-Møller for Magic Hour Films.

IDFA Forum
Projects seeking financing

  • Kaspar by Piotr Winiewicz. Produced by Mads Damsbo for Makropol.
  • La Vida Es Un Musical by Patty Pajak. Produced by Emil Lynge Johnsen for GotFat Productions.
  • Co-production Farming the Revolution by Nishtha Jain (India, France, Denmark). Danish co-production by Signe Byrge Sørensen for Final Cut for Real.
  • Co-production Land of Women by Nada Riyadh and Ayman El Amir (Egypt, Denmark, France). Danish co-production by Mette-Ann Schepelern for Magma Film&Tv.
  • Co-production Who Killed Thomas Sankara? by Mads Brügger (France, Denmark). Danish co-production by Peter Engel for Wingman Media.

Workshop and training

  • Director Patricia Bbaale Bandak and producer Victor Cunha (Monolit Film) are invited to IDFA's workshop for young filmmakers.
  • Editor Niels Pagh Andersen presents his new book 'Order in Chaos' in conversation with IDFA's artistic director Orwa Nyrabia.

Jury members

  • Editor, producer and former film commissioner at the Danish Film Institute Ulla Hæstrup is a member of the jury for IDFA Competition for Youth Documentary.
  • Director Mahdi Fleifel is member of the jury for IDFA Award for Best First Feature.
  • Steffen Moestrup, senior associate professor at the Danish School of Media and Journalism in Aarhus, is part of the FIPRESCI jury.