As a conceptual artist Michael Madsen doesn’t so much create nonfiction films as craft mind-blowing experiences, introducing even the most jaded of us docu-philes to people and places we’d no idea even existed. (Prior to IDFA 2010 I, for one, never knew about Finland’s nuclear waste storage facility Onkalo, the subject of Madsen’s Into Eternity and an underground cavern the size of a large city set for completion in the 22nd century.) In his latest The Visit the Danish director turns his attention and limitless imagination towards mankind’s first encounter with alien intelligent life. With the help of expert guides — an international array that includes military men, theologians, government spokesmen, and even scientists from the United Nations’ Office for Outer Space Affairs (yup, who knew?) — he takes us step by step through a hypothetical scenario both exhilarating and deeply humbling. Filmmaker was fortunate enough to speak with the philosophical polymath prior to the film’s U.S. premiere in Park City on Sunday, January 25 at the Prospector Theater.
To read my interview visit Filmmaker magazine.