Strong repertoire to Amsterdam

Prolonging life, coincidence over choice, and uncontrolled growth in megacities are some of the topics in new Danish films selected for programmes at IDFA Amsterdam, kicking off 19 November.

No fewer than eleven films, breaking a Danish record, are selected for the 22nd International Documentary Festival Amsterdam (IDFA). Five will run in competition programmes. The overview is as follows:



FILM#Special with trailers






Invention — Japanese mode

Renowned inventor Dr Nakamats is approaching his 80th birthday. Ageing is of no concern to him as he is convinced that he will reach 144 years. "The Invention of Dr. Nakamats" follows this extraordinary Japanese celebrity, on his life-prolonging mission whilst delving into new sensational inventions.

Graduation films

Three graduation films from the National Film School are selected for competition. Having signed two documentaries chosen for IDFA last year, film school graduate Andreas Koefoed will return to the festival in November with "Albert's Winter" — playing in the Short Film Competition. This is a story of a young boy and bystander to his mother's illness, perhaps his first confrontation with life's adversities. In Kristoffer Kiørboe's "Northern Lights", two brothers journey to the polar lights, in an attempt to find themselves and re-encounter the relationship they once enjoyed. Katrine Philp's "Book of Miri" is an explosion of colour and attitudes as young Miri, relatively isolated in the real world, generously shares her life in images and opinions with her blog readers.    

Megacities — out of control

Urban growth and its impact on residents and decision makers, a hot issue on municipal agendas around the world, is the subject of "Cities on Speed", a series of four films, two of which are selected for IDFA's Mid-Length Competition. Fifty percent of the world's population lived in towns in 2007 and it is predicted that the figure will increase to eighty percent by 2050. One of the results of this development is the unintended creation of megacities with their slums, inequity, traffic chaos and the lack of infrastructure. This series draws attention to the phenomenon of the megacity and discusses visions for the world's urban future.

The two films in the "Cities on Speed"- series selected for IDFA are "Mumbai Disconnected" and "Bogotá Change". Besides appearing in Reflecting Images: Panorama, they will also appear in "The Open City", a special programme organized in cooperation with International Architecture Biennale Rotterdam. Both films are produced by Henrik Veileborg, Jesper Jack og Anna-Maria Kantarius for Upfront Films.

The final two films in the series are "Cairo Garbage" by Mikala Krogh, produced by Sigrid Helene Dyekjær for Nimbus Film, and "Shanghai Space" by Nanna Frank Møller, produced by Helle Faber for Bastard Film & TV.

Free minds versus surveillance society

"The Red Chapel" by Mads Brügger, selected for Reflecting Images: Best of Fests, is a darkly humorous peep behind the curtain of North Korea. Described as free minds interacting with the absolute surveillance society, the story follows a journalist and two performers, who travel to North Korea with a mission — to challenge the conditions of the smile in one of the world’s most notorious regimes. The film has generated wide interest, is embellished with awards and sold to almost all territories. 

"The Red Chapel" is produced by Peter Engel for the national broadcaster DR and Zentropa Rambuk.

Coming of Age

"Coming of Age" is the umbrella title for seven films portraying the lives of young people in Denmark today. Three of these films are selected for this year's IDFA.

Running in the Mid-Length Competition is "Accidental Terrorist," a story of a meeting between two young Turks, both born and bred in Denmark. Today one of them is confined in a Bosnian prison, the other is free, having pursued another path. The film questions why their destinies are so far apart. 

Selected for the programme Kids & Docs are "Let's be Together", a story about a boy grappling for a foothold between genders and nationalities, and "Invisible Girls", which examines loneliness in the school classroom.

The series is produced by Mette Heide (Team Productions) and Helle Faber (Bastard Film & TV) with support from the Danish Film Institute and TV 2/Danmark. 


Five Danish coproductions are selected for Reflecting Images:

• "Bananas!" / Fredrik Gertten (Sweden-Denmark)
• "The Biggest Chinese Restaurant in the World" / Weijun Chen (People's Republic of China-England-Holland-Denmark-USA)
• "Constantin and Elena" / Andrei Dascalescu (Romania-Spain-Denmark)
• "Defamation" / Yoav Shamir (Austria-Israel-USA-Denmark)
• "Videocracy" / Erik Gandini (Sweden-Denmark) 

Danish Jury member

Director Anders Østergaard is a member of the Feature Length Competition Jury (formerly known as Joris Ivens Competition). This honour follows the success of his "Burma VJ" which took the world by storm, captured the attention of Richard Gere, Gordon Brown and Václav Havel, and won over 30 international awards including the Joris Ivens at IDFA. "Burma VJ" will screen in Reflecting Images.  


Pitching at Forum this year are three projects:

"Armadillo" — by producer Ronnie Fridthjof for Fridthjof Film. This is a story following a group of young soldiers at the front line in Afghanistan. As the operations get hairy the boys become cynical …

"Borg—McEnroe Love All" — by Birgitte Skov for SF Film Production. A story about the dramatic rivalry between two unforgettable legendary tennis players: Björn Borg and John McEnroe. An epic tale of heroes and adversaries ...

"Free the Mind" — by Sigrid Dyekjær for Danish Documentary. Brain-scientist Professor Richard Davidson conducts an unusual experiment: He will teach American prisoners Mindfulness Meditation.

Screening times

Screening times for Danish films at IDFA (pdf)