Special Events

RIFF emphasizes on having a diverse and exciting special events program every year. The festival is proud to have live events combined with films.

Our special events have included film concerts, a swim-in cinema where we screen films in a swimming pool decorated according to the film’s theme, cave-in cinema where short films were screened in a cave just outside Reykjavik, cinema themed stand up, cinema pop quiz,  movie at a restaurant, etc. etc.

Here are the highlight of the 2016 special events program.

Film Concerts

Yearly, RIFF hosts the ever-popular film concerts.

  • Film concert Fantasia with the Icelandic Symphony Orchestra

5. OCTOBER AT 19:30 – 6. OCTOBER AT 19:30 – 7. OCTOBER AT 17:00

At Harpa – Eldborg. Price: 2.500 – 4.500 ISK. 20% off with Festival Pass

Few animations have evoked as passionate a reaction in the general public as Disney’s Fantasia. The film marked a change in popular culture when it came out in the year 1940, where classical music and animated film were mixed together in a memorable way. Now, fans of classical animation and music have a chance to attend a series of concerts of superb quality, performed by the Icelandic Symphony Orchestra, where the music from the original Fantasia and Fantasia 2000 will be played with accompanying visuals. The conductor of the cinematic concerts is Broadway-master Ted Sperling, who has worked in the world of musicals with great success for over thirty years.

  • 2014, Sólstafir played music during the film ‘Hrafninn flýgur’ by Hrafn Gunnlaugsson.
  • 2013, Hjaltalín played music during the film ‘Days of Gray’ by Ani Simon-Kennedy.
  • 2012, Damo Zuzuki played music during Fritz Land’s film ‘Metropolis’ from 1927.



Swim-in Cinema

RIFF’s yearly swim-in cinema is in a heated, indoor pool, and has become one of the festival’s most popular events – and deservedly so, since it suits all audiences.

  • Swim-in Cinema: Frankenstein

1. OCTOBER AT 20:00 & 22:00

At Sundhöllin. Price: 2.000 ISK.

Sundhöllin turns into the castle of the highly intelligent but obsessive Dr. Henry Frankenstein, whose main goal is to raise the dead back to life. He manages to spark life in a creature composed from the remains of several corpses, but at the same time he must carry the responsibility for his creation that he cannot control. It is safe to say that there will be a dark and brooding atmosphere in the old Sundhöll (literally, Swim-palace), which was opened only six years after the premiere of Frankenstein, the film. Strange noises can be heard in the showers, surprise visitors from beyond lounging in the pool, and who can say if the Dr. himself will be in attendance? The doors open at 20:00 and again at 22:00, the film starts 30 minutes later.

Here are some images from RIFF’s previous swim-in cinemas.


Special Events

RIFF aims to have a diverse and fun event schedule every year, with cinema-related live events all over Reykjavík.

The Reykjavík International Film Festival revolves around experiences, and even though few things compare to a traditional trip to the movies, we think it is important to shake things up with a series of diverse events. The events are of all shapes and sizes, and themes such as swim-in cinema, cave cinema, film stand-up, film pub-quiz, movie dinners and many more have been featured. Among the special events at RIFF 2016 are film screenings at unusual places, such as cafés, swimming-pools and a nursing home, panel-discussions, concerts and art exhibitions.


  • Art Without Borders
  1. SEPTEMBER AT 19:00-21:00

At Norræna húsið / NORDIC HOUSE. Price: FREE

Art Without Borders, in collaboration with the organization Nordic Outsider Art, invites you to a panel discussion and a film screening of works made by and for people with disabilities. A group of marginalized and disabled artists from Sweden, Finland, Denmark and Iceland worked together on a film influenced by surrealism. This film will be shown along with the film “Guest Room” by Joshua Tate, where we peer into the life of a young woman with Downs-syndrome (Lauren Potter from Glee). She needs to face a harsh reality after an incident with her boyfriend.
After the screening there will be a discussion about the difference between films made by disabled people and films made for disabled people.


  • Richard Mosse: The Enclave
  1. SEPTEMBER AT 20:00-22:00

At Listasafn Reykjavíkur – Hafnarhús / Reykjavík Art Museum. Price: FREE

Film- and sound-setting by this irish artist has raised well-deserved attention since it was premiered at the Venice Biennale in 2013. Mosse, the cinematographer Trevor Tweeten and composer Ben Frost stayed among armed rebels in Congo and collected material for a 40 minute piece that leaves no-one untouched. The artist and collaborators in the project will be there to answer questions at 21:00 at the opening. The museum is open 10:00-17:00 all days, and until 22:00 on Thursdays.  


  • Poland in Focus: Concert & Party!
  1. SEPTEMBER AT 21:00

At Hlemmur Square. Price: FREE

RIFF in collaboration with the Adam Mickiewicz Institute, acting under its flagship brand Culture.pl, Chimes and Hlemmur Square invite you for an unforgettable Polish Concert and Party!


Come and discover the richness of Polish Culture through music with violinist Stefan Wesołowski and harpist from Iceland and later on DJ.Cpt. Sparky, discuss films with our directors guests and learn how to cheer in Polish with the free Tyskie beer that we will offer you at the bar.


The goal of Culture.pl, the Adam Mickiewicz Institute’s flagship brand, is to promote Poland and Polish culture abroad. Culture.pl presents high-quality initiatives and events in the fields of art, music, design, and more. The Culture.pl website provides daily fresh information on the most exciting Polish cultural events worldwide, it is also the biggest and most comprehensive source of knowledge about Polish culture.

Find out more: www.culture.pl


  • One Minute Movies
    1. OCTOBER at 14:00 & 4. OCTOBER at 13:45
  1. October:
  1. october at 13:45:

RIFF is in collaboration with the dutch organization The One Minutes. The One Minutes has been a venue for more than ten thousand movies from people of 120 nationalities since the founding of the organization in 1998. The One Minutes publish a series of one minute movies once a month, and different artists are chosen to put together each series.


  • Kristina Petrosiute: DECOMPOSITION
  1. OCTOBER AT 18:00

At Ramskram, Njálsgata 49. Price: FREE

During her visit to the EYE Cinema Institute in Amsterdam, the photographer Kristina Petrosiute got a chance to photograph pictures of rotting films on wheels. Her pictures record the relationship between human artistry and invention, and the inevitable force of Mother Nature. Open Thurs-Friday at 16:00- 19:00, Sat-Sunday at 13:00-19:00.



  • Libia Castro & Ólafur Ólafsson: ILLUSION WOMAN – STUDY #1 & WORLD AT A CROSSROADS
  1. OCTOBER AT 16:00-17:30

At Listasafn Íslands – Vasulka Stofa. Price: Free

A new video by Ólafur Ólafsson and Libia Castro will be premiered at the National Gallery of Iceland, “Illusion Woman – Study #”. Illusion Woman’s speech, written by Nina Power, British philosopher, activist and feminist, with Libia and Ólafur, is a plea and manifesto, reflecting on the socio-economic and political situation in Europe and beyond since the financial crash of 2008, and forecasting two possible futures.

“World at a Crossroads”, a series which includes one minute long films, will also be premiered. Ólafur and Libia selected the films for this series in collaboration with RIFF and The One Minutes Institute in The Netherlands.

Following the premiere there will be discussions and drinks. Illusion Woman – Study#1 and World at a Crossroads can be watched for free during opening hours of the National Gallery.


  • Soups and Shorts
  1. & 4. OCTOBER AT 12:00–13:00

At Loft Hostel. Price: FREE

Enjoy an Icelandic short during lunch break! A selection of shorts will be screened at Loft Hostel. Delicious soup and bread for only 1000 ISK for holders of a RIFF pass.


  • Icelandic Shorts at Grund
    OCTOBER AT 14:00

At Dvalar- og Hjúkrunarheimilið Grund. Price: FREE

Two new icelandic short films will be shown at the nursing home Grund, the documentary “Heiti Potturinn” (The Hot Tub) by Harpa Fönn Sigurjónsdóttir and “Litla stund hjá Hansa” (A Short While with Hansa) by Eyþór Jóvinsson. Harpa Fönn and Eyþór introduce their movies and answer questions after the screening.


  • Hot Tub Concert
  1. OCTOBER AT 18.00–18.30

At Vesturbæjarlaug. Price: FREE

A concert with the musician and documentary film-maker Harpa Fönn. Harpa is the director of the short film Heiti Potturinn (The Hot Tub), a movie that brings the audience member into the world of the hot tub and shows it as the sacred place it is to many pool-goers. Illustrations and music play a big part in the short film, and Harpa will perform material from her solo composition on a ukulele and a small harmonica, in a low key and intimate way that leaves no-one untouched. 


  • Riff Around Town.
    All Festival Days
    Various places. Price: FREE

One minute films will be screened at various places around Reykjavík while RIFF is ongoing. RIFF around town is in collaboration with The One Minutes Institute in The Netherlands.


Whale watching boat Elding

Fjölbrautaskólinn við Ármúla

Menntaskólinn við Hamrahlíð

Geysir Center

Hlemmur Square



City Library at Grófin

Photography gallery Ramskram


  • Screening in collaboration with the Gov. Agency of Child Protection


  1. OCTOBER AT 18:00

At Bíó Paradís (Q&A). Price: FREE

The Gov. Agency of Child Protection hosts the yearly child protection seminar, where the topics discussed are the many facets of domestic violence, with addresses by national and international experts. In collaboration with them RIFF is screening the film “To Kill a Kelpie” which is based on a play Matthew McVarish. The play is about his experience of sexual abuse as a child. Matthew will be there in person to talk with the audience after the screening. He has previously walked 10.000 miles across Europe, to raise awareness for his fight against sexual violence towards children.


  • Coffee Time with Filmmakers – TBA

At Bíó Paradís. Price: FREE

At RIFF this year, filmmakers will come together and share their personal experiences of films over a cup of coffee. The topics can be everything from their worst industry stories to their fondest childhood cinema memories. The talks are open to the public, and more information will be available at riff.is


  • Icelandic Films

1.–5 & 8.–9. OCTOBER AT 12:00–18:00

At Icelandair Hotel Reykjavík Marina. Price: FREE

Icelandic films will be honored this year due to their success this past year: In 2015 they won over 100 international prizes. Following films will be screened in Slippbíó at Hótel Marina 1.- 5. and 8.–9. october at 12:00-18:00. More information will be posted on riff.is. Brim, Svartur á leik, Gauragangur, Eldfjall, Draumalandið, Screaming Masterpiece, Órói, Reykjavík Whale Watching Massacre, Astrópía, Strákarnir okkar, Maður eins og ég, Frost, Íslenski draumurinn, Vonarstræti, Brúðguminn, Djúpið, Rokland, XL, Sterkt kaffi.