The Festival

RIFF takes place every year in late September for eleven days. RIFF is an independent non profit organization.  Our staff works all year round to organize the festival but we couldn’t do that without the help of volunteers from all over the world that come to Reykjavik every years and help out. The next festival will take place in 28th of September – 8th of October 2017.

The festival shows a wide range of dramas and non-fiction films from over 40 countries. The festival highlights independent film making 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. The festival also manages the RIFF industry office, complete with a video library, information and guest services, and co-organizes networking meetings and dinners for the attending professionals.

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.

Our Program

Over the last few years, RIFF has screened approximately 100 feature films from roughly 40 countries annually. For your convenience, they are arranged in a number of different categories that have solidified over time.

New Visions (Grand Prix Competition) – is limited to the first or second film of up-and-coming directors.

Open Seas (Out of Competition) – presents acclaimed films from many of the most talented and respected filmmakers of the world.

Icelandic Panorama – opens up the world of Icelandic filmmaking and showcases it to the outside world, thus building a bridge between Icelandic cinema and international filmmaking.

A Different Tomorrow – foregrounds films that help to make us better citizens of the world.

Documentaries – are becoming more and more popular. We screen films about #music, #art, #culture, #world, #digital …

Youth Programme – dedicated to our young audience and provides film-oriented entertainment, education and experience.

Focus On – We shine the spotlight on a national cinema; last year it was Germany, this year it’s Greece.

Emerging master – This section offers insight into the oeuvre of a filmmaker just gaining considerable ground.

Honorary Retrospective – This section offers a rare opportunity to see the classic films directed by each year’s recipient of the RIFF Honorary Award glisten on the silver screen. Recent recipients include Mike Leigh, Béla Tarr, Susanne Bier, David Cronenberg, Deepa Mehta and Darren Aronofsky. Who will it be in 2017?

Golden Egg – Members of our Talent Lab compete for an award.

Stay tuned for our 2017 selection!

Honorary Guests

Our guests throughout the years include Jim Jarmusch, Mike Leigh, Ruben Östlund, Milos Forman, Peter Greenaway, Costa-Gavras, Hanna Schygulla, Béla Tarr, Aki Kaurismäki, Hal Hartley, Shirin Neshat, Susanne Bier, Atom Egoyan, Abbas Kiarostami, Dario Argento, Thomas Bangalter, Guy-Manuel de Homem Christo, James Marsh, Lone Scherfig, Marjane Satrapi, Aleksandr Sokurov, Andrea Arnold, Ulrich Thomsen, Ulrike Ottinger, Damo Suzuki and more…

Special Events

RIFF is all about experience. And while there is nothing quite like a film, we want to spice things up a bit every now and again. The Special Events of the last few years include Swim-in Cinema, Drive-in Cinema, Living Room Cinema, Film Concert, Cave-in Cinema, Hot Tub Cinema and Children’s Program.

Minus 25

RIFF seeks to give children insight into the magic of cinema, increase their film literacy and show them the diverse possibilities of filmmaking.