Jørgen Leth and Danish Documentaries to IDFA

IDFA. Simon Lereng Wilmont's "The Distant Barking of Dogs" is world-premiering at IDFA, which has invited a wide range of Danish films and filmmakers to this 30th anniversary edition, including renowned documentarian Jørgen Leth.

IDFA's 30th edition will be celebrated with a string of special events in addition to a comprehensive film programme of 312 titles plus talks, industry meetings and exhibitions running throughout the festival from 15 to 26 November.

Danish films and filmmakers will be taking part in various competitions as well as the special programmes highlighting the jubilee. See the complete list of Danish participation below.

Boernene paa silkevejen Beach-Boys_450
"Life is a Beach" is one of two films by Jens Pedersen selected for IDFA's Kids & Docs competition.

Films in competition

Three Danish directors are represented in IDFA's competitive programme.

Simon Lereng Wilmont's "The Distant Barking of Dogs" is selected for the First Appearance competition. The film follows 9-year-old Oleg, whose life has been turned upside down by the war in East Ukraine. Wilmont last directed two films about children in elite sports, "Chikara – The Sumo Wrestler's Son" (2013) and "The Fencing Champion" (2014), both shown at IDFA.

Jens Pedersen's five-part documentary series "Kids on the Silk Road" about young lives along the ancient Silk Road in Central and Southeast Asia will be represented in the Kids & Docs competition by two of the films in the series, "Life is a Beach" and "Music in My Blood." The director travelled to IDFA in 2013 with his praised short film series about children in Afghanistan, "Faith Hope Afghanistan."

Trine Laier's "Cosmic Top Secret" will be joining the competition for digital storytelling. The adventure game invites the audience to help a character named T to unravel the truth about the protagonist's parents and their work with Danish intelligence during the Cold War. The game, based on the director's own story, has already won awards in Berlin and Los Angeles.

Mikala Krogh's "A Year of Hope" is world-premiering in IDFA's Masters programme.

Films in non-competitive series

Six Danish films will be taking part in the non-competitive Masters, Best of Fests and Panorama series. Several of the directors will be well-known to IDFA audiences.

Phie Ambo's "... When You Look Away" is selected for Masters showing reputable documentarians' latest works. The film, exploring consciousness based on quantum physics, is the last film in the director's trilogy about the relationship between science and human existence.

Mikala Krogh's "A Year of Hope," also part of Masters, follows a group of boys from Manila's slums and their journey towards a better future. The film will be celebrating its world premiere at IDFA.

Camilla Magid's "Land of the Free" is selected for Best of Fests, a series of festival highlights from the past year. The film about taking your life in your own hands in a tough neighbourhood in Los Angeles won the award as best Nordic doc at CPH:DOX and screened at the festivals in Karlovy Vary and Telluride.

Nicole N. Horanyi's "The Stranger" will be in the Panorama lineup, showing films that are thought-provoking in style and topic. The documentary tells the story of Amanda and her crush on the charming Casper, who turns out to be a fraud. Also selected for Panorama is Kasper Astrup Schröder's "Big Time" about renowned architect Bjarke Ingels and Nitesh Anjaan's "Dreaming Murakami" about the Japanese writer Haruki Murakami.

"Dreaming Murakami" is supported by the Copenhagen Film Workshop, while all other films have received funding from the Danish Film Institute.

Filmmakers in special series

IDFA's 30th birthday coincides with a farewell to the festival's founder and director Ally Derks. Both milestone events will be honoured through The Visual Voice series, where Danish documentarian Jørgen Leth and a total of 18 leading directors, all of whom have had a strong connection to the festival over the years, introduce significant films and share their visions for the future of documentary filmmaking.

The series will be showing, among others, Anders Østergaard's 2008 IDFA winner "Burma VJ – Reporting from a Closed Country" and Joshua Oppenheimer's groundbreaking first film from Indonesia, "The Act of Killing."

Lars Skree is invited to share his experiences in the Camera in Focus programme, where both new and experienced cinematographers talk about their work. Skree has shot such radical films as Janus Metz's "Armadillo" and Joshua Oppenheimer's "The Look of Silence" and "The Act of Killing".

IDFA 15-26 November 2017

Danish films at IDFA 2017


The Distant Barking of Dogs / Simon Lereng Wilmont
Producer: Monica Hellström for Final Cut for Real

Danish producer Sigrid Jonsson Dyekjær is member of the First Appearance Competition jury


Music in My Blood + Life is a Beach / Jens Pedersen
Producer: Maria Stevnbak Westergren for Pedersen & Co.


Cosmic Top Secret / Trine Laier
Producer: Lise Saxtrup for Klassefilm


... When You Look Away / Phie Ambo
Producer: Malene Flindt Pedersen for Viola-Lucia Film

A Year of Hope / Mikala Krogh
Producer: Sigrid Dyekjær for Danish Documentary Production


Land of the Free / Camilla Magid
Producer: Heidi Elise Christensen, Signe Byrge Sørensen for Final Cut for Real


The Stranger / Nicole N. Horanyi
Producer: Helle Faber for Made in Copenhagen

Big Time / Kaspar Astrup Schröder
Producer: Sara Stockmann for Sontag Picture

Dreaming Murakami / Nitesh Anjaan
Producer: Pernille Tornøe Frederiksen for Final Cut for Real


Burma VJ – Reporting from a Closed Country / Anders Østergaard
Producer: Lise Lense-Møller for Magic Hour Films

The Act of Killing / Joshua Oppenheimer
Producer: Signe Byrge Sørensen for Final Cut for Real

Films with Danish participation

Golden Dawn Girls / Håvard Bustnes (Norway, Denmark, Finland)
Danish producer: Jesper Jack for House of Real
Competition for Feature-Length Documentary

Amal / Mohamed Siam (Egypt, Lebanon, Germany, Denmark)
Danish producer: Patricia Drati for Good Company Pictures
Competition for Feature-Length Documentary

Tongue Cutters / Solveig Melkeraaen (Norway, Denmark)
Danish producer: Malene Flindt Pedersen for Hansen & Pedersen Film og Fjernsyn
Competition for Kids & Docs

Kumbh / Umesh Kulkarni (India, Denmark)
Produced by Danish-Palestinian Mahdi Fleifel
Competition for Short Documentary

Aleppo's Fall / Nizam Najjar (Norge, Danmark, France)
Danish producer: Henrik Underbjerg for Straydog Production

A World Not Ours / Mahdi Fleifel (UK, Lebanon, Denmark)
Produced by Danish-Palestinian Mahdi Fleifel
Shifting Perspectives: The Arab World