RIFF takes place every year in September and October for eleven days. The festival shows a wide range of dramas and non-fiction films from over 40 countries. It highlights independent filmmaking from all over the world with an emphasis on up-and-coming filmmakers. RIFF encourages the interaction of film with other art forms by organizing concerts, photo exhibitions and more.

RIFF was founded in September 2004 by a small group of film professionals and film enthusiasts led by Festival Director Hrönn Marinósdóttir with the goal of presenting new and progressive quality films, supporting innovation in filmmaking, networking between professionals from various parts of the world and fostering social and cultural dialogue.

The 2017 edition of the festival will take place from the 28th of September until the 8th of October.