IDFA-bound: A portrait of first love and a VR refugee experience

IDFA 2018. Emil Næsby Hansen’s 'The Two of Us', tracking a couple of young ex-lovers over a long summer, is having its international premiere at IDFA this November, while 'This Room' by visual artist Pejk Malinovski will be taking its audiences through a VR experience of being a refugee in limbo.

The full programme for IDFA is now announced, adding two more Danish titles to the year’s important documentary film event kicking off in Amsterdam on 14 November.

Emil Næsby Hansen’s debut feature, 'The Two of Us', and Pejk Malinovski’s VR installation 'This Room' are both having their international premiere at the festival. 

The films are joining three other Danish films at Amsterdam. Two short children’s films – 'My Faith: Jehovah’s Witness', about Natalie, a 12-year-old Jehovah’s Witness, and 'Fantasy fantasy', about twin sisters Molly and Smilla in their day-to-day life with autism – are both competing in the IDFA Competition for Kids & Docs, as previously announced.

Meanwhile, Janus Metz and Sine Plambech’s 'Heartbound', about a group of Danish-Thai couples in Thy, is screening in the Best of Fests sidebar. 

That first love

'The Two of Us' world-premiered to packed theatres at CPH:DOX in March and had its official Danish release in May.

Emil Næsby Hansen, a product of Copenhagen’s alternative film school Super16, tags along with two teens as the proverbial fly on the wall over a long summer in Copenhagen. Skjold, 17, and Isabel, 18, are each other’s first love, though now they have broken up. As it turns out, however, maybe they are not so good at leaving each other as they first assumed. 

Næsby Hansen follows his two young protagonists through ups and downs, capturing happy moments as well as arguments, as he pitches the audience into a whirlwind of conversation.

The film is screening in IDFA's Luminous, a category for films that "immerse the viewer in a cinematographic experience" and make "the universal tangible through the individual".

'The Two of Us' is Næsby Hansen’s first feature-length documentary. Emil Kramhøft Dinsen is producing for Wergeland Film. The film is funded as a web series via the Danish Film Institute’s New Danish Screen talent-development scheme.

A physical experience of refugees’ journeys

In summer 2015, Europe saw a historically large flow of refugees and migrants, including from civil war-ravaged Syria. Newspaper headlines blazoned the vast numbers of people leaving their homelands in search of a better life in Europe. 

What happened to all those people? Poet and sound artist Pejk Malinovski explores that question in 'This Room', a virtual reality piece placing two participants in a narrow transit room. There, you get a sense of the stress, fear and uncertainty that is the daily life for so many refugees on their journey to a better place, as well as later when their asylum cases are being processed. 

The room is based on refugees’ experiences of the various transit spaces they have spent time in on their long journeys. Having lived close to a refugee centre as a child and making friends with the children from the centre, Malinovski also uses his personal memories of the limbo that characterizes the daily life of so many asylum seekers.

Danish-born Pejk Malinovski lives and works in New York. He produced 'This Room' in co-production with Khora Contemporary , KØS, Museum of art in Public spaces. The installation is selected for IDFA DocLab Competition for Digital Storytelling.

IDFA 2018 runs from 14 to 25 November. Read more on the festival’s website


Best of Fests

  • Heartbound by Janus Metz and Sine Plambech
    Produced by Magic Hour Films

Kids & Docs Competition

  • My Faith: Jehovah’s Witness by Cathrine Marchen Asmussen.
    Produced by Klassefilm
  • Fantasy Fantasy by Kaspar Astrup Schröder.
    Produced by Sonntag Pictures


  • The Two of Us by Emil Næsby Hansen
    Produced by Wergeland Film.

IDFA DocLab Competition for Digital Storytelling

  • This Room by Pejk Malinovski
    Co-p​​​​​​roduced by Khora Contemporary, KØS - Museum of Art in Public Spaces

Danish co-productions

  • Angels Are Made of Light by James Longley
    Co-produced by Final Cut for Real
    IDFA programme: Best of Fests
  • Aquarela by Victor Kossakovsky
    Co-produced by Danish Documentary
    IDFA programme: Masters
  • The Raft by Marcus Lindeen
    Co-produced by Bullitt Film
    IDFA programme: Best of Fests
  • What Walaa Wants by Christy Garland
    Co-produced by Final Cut for Real
    IDFA programme: Best of Fests

IDFA will be adding more films to the programme during October. The festival runs this year from 14 to 25 November.

Read more on IDFA's website at