Home News Danish Filmmaker Michael Madsen’s “The Visit. An Alien Encounter”

Danish Filmmaker Michael Madsen’s “The Visit. An Alien Encounter”


The latest documentary from Danish filmmaker Michael Madsen (Into Eternity) is technically science fact, only it speculatively concerns things that haven’t happened yet. The feature, subtitled “An Alien Encounter,” interviews people from NASA, SETI, the UN Office of Outer Space Affairs and other places housing experts on what will happen when extraterrestrials finally arrive on Earth. Some of the talking heads address the camera directly, as if they’re talking to the interplanetary visitors, while others simply express the various reasons why any such encounter will surely turn out bad.

“THE VISIT is a documentary with comedy elements, and a philosophical exploration of our fear of strangers through the ultimate threat to our self-image: The discovery of Alien Intelligent Life.

In Vienna lies the UN-city, with its late 1970’s architecture and its extra-territorial status not unlike a giant spacecraft that has landed in the middle of the civilized world. Inside this impressive institution representing our belief in humanity, resides the UN Office of Outer Space Affairs – the OOSA.

THE VISIT opens with a close-up of an animal. It instinctively reacts to something unknown. Inside the OOSA, a phone rings. Deputy Director-General, astro-physicist, Dr. Mazlan Othman, is informed that an alien has arrived…”

Trailer : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7A8MrCOozFo

“Danish documentarian Michael Madsen casts an amused but never mocking look at how we would handle things if beings from another planet landed on Earth.

An eclectic range of experts – military personnel, scientists, and philosophers – muse on the challenges such an extraterrestrial visit might present.

How should one assess the intentions of the visitors, and communicate with them? How much should the public be told about their arrival? In what ways would an alien intelligence and biology differ from our own?

These and many more questions are addressed, although some viewers may come away wondering mostly about what exactly the United Nations’ Office for Outer Space Affairs do with themselves while they wait for aliens to show up.

Stylish slow-motion footage and staged sequences add texture and break up the monotony of what is at heart a talking heads-based work.”


Camerimage 2015

Golden Frog
Feature Documentary Films Competition
Heikki Färm


DocAviv Film Festival 2015

Depth of Field Competition
Michael Madsen


Hamptons International Film Festival 2015

Golden Starfish Award
Documentary Feature
Michael Madsen


Jihlava International Documentary Film Festival 2015

Silver Eye Award
Best Feature Documentary
Michael Madsen


Moscow International Film Festival 2015

Silver St. George
Best Film of the Documentary Competition
Michael Madsen


Sundance Film Festival 2015

Grand Jury Prize
World Cinema – Documentary
Michael Madsen

Directed & Written by Michael Madsen

Cast (in credits order)

Mazlan OthmanMazlan Othman
Herself, astrophysicist, director of the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA)
Paul BeaverPaul Beaver
Himself, defence and aerospace consultant
Janos TisovszkyJanos Tisovszky
Himself, director of the United Nations Information Service
Michael BoyceMichael Boyce
Himself, former Chief of the Defence Staff
Niklas HedmanNiklas Hedman
Himself, The United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs
Sheryl BishopSheryl Bishop
Herself, social psychologist, University of Texas
John D. RummelJohn D. Rummel
Himself, chairman, Committee on Space Research (COSPAR)
Doug VakochDoug Vakoch
Himself, director of Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence (SETI)
Chris McKayChris McKay
Himself, astrobiologist, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) (as Christopher McKay)
Jacques ArnouldJacques Arnould
Himself, theologist, Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales (CNES)
Chris WelchChris Welch
Himself, professor of space engineering, International Space University
Vickie SheriffVickie Sheriff
Herself, former UK prime minister’s deputy official spokeswoman
Ernst FasanErnst Fasan
Himself, authority in space law

Michael Madsen was born in 1971. He is a director of several documentaries a.o. the Award-winning To Damascus – a Film on Interpretation (2005) and founder and artistic leader of the Sound/Gallery, a 900 square meter sound diffusion system underneath the Town Hall Square in Copenhagen, Denmark (1996-2001). Selected art projects include: Audience (van Gogh#7), design of SPOR 2007, festival for new music and sound art; and Public Service (van Gogh#6) Phase 1: Idea and concept for a new music library in Odense, Denmark. In addition, Michael has been guest lecturer at a.o. The Royal Danish Academy of Art, The Danish Film School, University of California, University of Western Sydney and School of Architecture in London.


Himmelnattens kejser/Celestial Night: A Film on Visibility (Denmark, 2003)
To Damascus – a Film on Interpretation (45´, Denmark, 2005)
Into Eternity (75´, Denmark, Finland, Sweden, Italy, 2010)
The Average of the Average (55′, Denmark, 2011)
Documentary Concert (silent film with live music performance; 55′, Denmark, 2013)
Cathedrals of Culture (TV Series documentary) – Halden Prison (26′, Denmark, 2014)
The Visit (Documentary) (83′, Denmark, 2015)






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