Premiere of “Dancing in the Desert”

News - 01 August 2023 - Webredactie Communication

The premiere of Dancing in the Desert will take place on Wednesday, 23 August, at 2 pm on the Delft Markt town square. Admission is free.


In this beautiful documentary, a team of filmmakers including Bram van Splunteren follow the student team working on the Nuna 11. It’s an exciting job, especially when you realise that the Nuna 10 caught fire during the previous Solar Challenge in Australia. Will these students succeed in designing and building an entirely new Nuna from scratch? Will it finish the race through the Moroccan desert and maybe even win it? The students sacrifice a year out of their studies and viewers get to follow them and the challenges they face while building a solar car. The documentary also offers the ultimate insight into the current student life in Delft. Lurking in the background are much bigger questions: Are solar powered vehicles the future? Can we use them to accelerate the energy transition? And can we actually still win the race against climate change?

Trailer "Dancing in the desert"

Nuna is the famous solar car with which TU Delft has won the World Solar Challenge an incredible eight times since 2001. With the exception of the COVID years, a new Nuna has been built for every edition of the biennial World Solar Challenge and has participated in this global competition for solar cars since 2001. The Nuna runs entirely on solar energy. The theoretical top speed is 180 km/h and the average speed over the routes is 100 km/h. Meanwhile, the Nuna 12 is ready to race 3,000 kilometres through Australia in October.

About the documentary:

"The Nuna 11 team had quite a difficult year due to COVID and other setbacks, but they managed to build a car. They have shown unprecedented resilience. We could all learn something from that: make good use of crisis moments and see setbacks as opportunities instead of succumbing to them... That's what makes a team a winning team." – Lennart Hessels is team leader of Nuna 12.

"Making videos can often be a bit cliché; they only show the successes. The reality is not so simple and unambiguous. The technology of solar-powered driving is still very much in development. It's still quite new. The first planes didn’t take off without a hitch either. I really love being able to see the process. The commitment and enthusiasm of the students was also incredible. I was really impressed by that." – Bram van Splunteren made a name for himself at the VPRO in the 80s with music documentaries about the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Nirvana’s Paradiso concert. He created fiction and wrote for de Volkskrant, Vara and Humo.

"Most people are only familiar with the Nuna through the news or having seen something about it on social media. You don’t normally get to see what's behind it all, how it's made and the whole process involved. This is a proper look behind the scenes!" – Caroline Smulders, Nuna 11 team member and appears in the documentary.

"It’s like you're really there. Great to watch! It's a beautiful documentary." – From the jury report of the Gouden Reiger, a Dutch film prize that is awarded annually to the best film that has been commissioned or has a clear objective for a specific target group.

More information

The Dancing in the Desert documentary will premiere on Wednesday afternoon, 23 August. The screening starts at 2pm and is free of charge with no advance booking requirement.

Prior to the premiere, a press conference will take place in Delft's monumental City Hall on the Markt town square. This press conference starts at noon (including lunch) and consists of two rounds. In the first round, among others, Maaike Zwart - alderwoman for sustainability of the municipality of Delft - will speak about the students' work, and how making it visible contributes to accelerating the energy transition. In the second round, they will look back on the film process but also cautiously look ahead. What lessons did the Nuna 12, which will compete in the World Solar Challenge in Australia, learn from the documentary Dancing in the desert?

Are you a journalist and would you like to attend this press conference and perhaps interview the filmmaker or one of the students filmed? Then feel free to contact Dave Boomkens, press officer Climate & Energy at TU Delft. He can be reached at or on 06 3408 1461.