The Remarkable Life of Ibelin 2024

Directed by Benjamin Ree Journeys

Winner of multiple awards at Sundance this powerful and heartwarming documentary reveals an outwardly introverted gamer’s vibrant secret cyberlife following his death from a degenerative muscular disease.

Aug 09

Hollywood Avondale

Aug 15

The Civic

Norway In English and Norwegian with English subtitles
104 minutes Colour / DCP
documentary film exempt from NZ Classification labelling requirements



Ingvil Giske


Rasmus Tukia, Tore Vollan


Robert Stengård


Robert Steen, Trude Steen, Mia Steen, Kai Simon, Fredriksen Lisette Roovers, Mikkel Riknagel Nielsen, Xenia-Anni Nielsen


Sundance, CPH:DOX, Sydney 2024


Directing and Audience Awards (World Cinema Documentary), Sundance Film Festival 2024


A parent’s greatest desire for their children is for them to live a fulfilling life with friendships and love. Born with a degenerative muscular disease, Mats Steen’s life narrows until as a young adult he spends much of his day in his bedroom on his modified computer, seemingly disconnected with the real world. His family views his life as lonely and isolated.   

When he dies aged 25, his parents post a final message to Mats’ blog, not knowing whether anyone would even read it… until their inbox is flooded with hundreds of emails from online friends around the world who had connected with Mats through the online role-playing game World of Warcraft and his dashing virtual avatar Ibelin.  

Director Benjamin Ree vividly re-imagines Ibelin’s life within World of Warcraft where Ibelin poignantly enjoys so many of the things Mats couldn’t – he’s buff and goes for daily jogs, meets friends for a beer, chats up girls and falls in love. Interspersed with interviews with family and the friends Mats made online, Ree’s heart-rending film portrays the power of human connection and a life well lived; a truly remarkable life. — Sally Woodfield  

“With whip-smart filmmaking that weaves together the physical and digital worlds, The Remarkable Life of Ibelin is powerful cinema that uses its stylistic experimentation for distinctly humanist means, breathing life into a person’s story when it seemed like there were few dimensions left to explore. It’s a world unto itself, and a glowing example of how moviemaking – like a person’s digital footprint – can be a form of immortality that soothes even the most devastating loss.” — Siddhant Adlakha, Variety 

“It is an emotionally shattering, crucial film for getting a firmer grasp on disabled lives, online communities, and, to a less important but also fascinating degree, gaming as more than a time-wasting hobby. This documentary means everything to me.” — Robert Kojder, Flickering Myth