• Festivals

Marlene Emilie Lyngstad Wins 26th Edition of La Cinef in Cannes: “It was very surprising”

Denmark’s Norwegian Offspring by Marlene Emilie Lyngstad, from Den Danske Filmskole, was chosen as the winner of the 26th edition of La Cinef Selection in Cannes.

“It was very surprising,” said director Marlene Emilie Lyngstad. “I am extremely happy and honored to be selected as the winner.”


The Short Films and La Cinef Jury at Cannes Film Festival 2023, presided by Ildikó Enyedi, and comprised of Ana Lily Amirpour, Shlomi Elkabetz, Charlotte Le Bon and Karidja Touré. The 2023 La Cinef Prizes were awarded during a ceremony held in the Buñuel theatre on May 26. La Cinef consisted of 16 student films, chosen out of 2000 entries from 476 film schools around the world.

“We are graduating in four weeks,” said 26-year old Lyngstad, who was accompanied by producer Carl Osbæck Adelkilde and writer Emilie Koefoed Larsen, who are both 28. “This is our graduation project, so it is a very special experience for us.”

Norwegian Offspring is about a solitary man, Stein (Jan Gunnar Røise), who has a vlog where he speaks about the repression of male sexuality in society. As his Danish mother has just passed away, he starts to want to have a child of his own.

“He starts on a journey in the sexual underworld in Copenhagen,” explains Lyngstad. “He meets with three women and tries to reproduce with them.”

Lyngstad and Koefoed Larsen wrote the film together. It was a very deliberate choice to make a film about male sexuality.

“I have only made movies about women so far and I thought it would be a great challenge to make a film about male sexuality for once. It is also an interesting challenge that it is seen from a female gaze.”

The Utøya terror attacks from 2011, where a far right man attacked and killed 77 people on an island in Norway, was an inspiration to create this story.

“I was 14 years old when it happened and my generation spends a lot of time thinking about it: How do people, and especially men, get cut out from society and end up doing horrible and very aggressive actions? I wanted to look at the loneliness and what things this loneliness brings along. I wanted to look at how it can come this far.”

The writers did extensive research and travelled around Europe to gather real life stories for the script.

“It was a very long research period,” explains Lyngstad. “I was very interested in this form of sexual services and products that are substitutes for intimacy. So I started out by researching sex doll brothels. I went on a trip around Europe and spoke to several sex workers about their experiences.”

After that, Lyngstad met with a real Norwegian blogger, who wrote about male sexuality and runs a dating site focusing on fertile dating. The purpose was to have children with the women he was dating.

“I travelled to Norway and met with him and my original plan was to cast him and we started creating scenes that I shot, where he improvised and we built the script around that. But then we decided to cast a professional actor.”

It has been exciting for the film team to bring their film Norwegian Offspring to Cannes.

“It has been very overwhelming,” says Lyngstad. “I have never been to a big festival before. My biggest hope is that this recognition will enable us to make a feature film as our next project.”

The second prize of the La Cinef Prizes went to Hole directed by Hwang Hyein from Korean Academy of Film Arts, South Korea and the third prize went to

Ayyur (Moon) directed by Zineb Wakrim from cin. Amina Berrada, ÉSAV, Morocco.