(director/writer: Benjamin Ree; cinematographer: Tore Vollan; editor: Robert Stengard; music: Uno Helmersson; cast:  Zoe Croft (voice), Kelsey Ellison (voice); Runtime: 106; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Ingvil Giske; Netflix; 2024-Norway-in Norwegian with English subtitles)

“Warm documentary.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

The warm documentary by Benjamin Ree (“The Painter and The Thief”/”Magnus”), a filmmaker from Norway, tells the heartbreaking story of Mats Steen. It’s a lovely story of a boy from Norway who at a young age was diagnosed with Duchenne muscular dystrophy. As a result, from then on was in a wheelchair whereby he led both a solitary life and a secretive life from his parents. He got by as a blogger and a gamer on his computer. When he died at 25 from the degenerative disease, his parents announced his passing on his blog and discovered he had an active life online they were unaware of because of his participation as a gamer on World of Warcraft.

The title Ibelin is lifted from his gamer avatar. Mats appears to the gamer world as a healthy, big framed and blond young man–intent on hiding his disability.

The engaging film mixes together a story about Mats life as a gamer and him experiencing the real world in his confinement (seen through home videos).

There are numerous long-distanced friends Mats made on WOW who appear, as well as the showing of a beautiful animation. In the attempt to find out more about Mats, the animators go into the characters he created on WoW and thereby come away with a deeper impression of him.

The result is a heartfelt and moving humanistic doc.

It played at the Sundance Film Festival.