Netflix acquires the rights to the documentary “Ibelin,” created and animated within World of Warcraft

Netflix acquired the rights to “Ibelin,” a documentary by Norwegian filmmaker Benjamin Ree. It focuses on the life of Mats Steen, a 25-year-old Norwegian gamer who passed away due to a muscle disease. The film premiered at the 2024 Sundance Festival.

Ibeling is about Mats Steen, a 25-year-old Norwegian gamer, who passed away due to a degenerative muscular disease. His parents, initially grieving what they believed to be a solitary and isolated existence, were surprised when they began receiving messages from friends he had made online worldwide in World of Warcraft.

The filmmaker uses lots of in-game chat logs in World of Warcraft and Mats’ blog to get the story. The movie guides through Mats Steen’s online life, unveiling his captivating World of Warcraft character, Ibelin. Animated scenes from his gameplay, narrated blog entries, and interviews with those who knew him as Ibelin paint a portrait of an extraordinary young man.

Ibelin made its debut during the 2024 Sundance Film Festival, a premier event for original storytellers. The annual program features a variety of films, including dramas, documentaries, shorts, and episodic content. The festival also includes filmmaker conversations, panel discussions, and events. Since 1985, many films launched here have gained critical acclaim and global audiences.

The documentary currently holds a 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and critics are enamoured with it. “It is an emotionally shattering, crucial film for gaining 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,” wrote Robert Kojder, an RT user and a member of the Chicago Film Critics Association and the Critics Choice Association.

Netflix has obtained the rights, and it is expected to be released later in the current year.