About RIFF

RIFF – Reykjavík International Film Festival – is one of the biggest and most diverse cultural events in Iceland. RIFF is an independent non profit organization. Our staff works all year round to organize the festival but we could not do that without the help of volunteers from all over the world that come to Reykjavík every year to help out.

For eleven days every Fall since 2004, Icelandic locals and tourists alike are able to go to the cinema and enjoy the best and freshest of international film making. Our guests can also meet and chat with directors about their works, attend panels and workshops, concerts and exhibitions, and even watch interesting films under even more interesting conditions, for instance in a swimming pool or in the filmmaker’s home.

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. 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 the emphasis on up-and-coming film makers, with the main prize – the Golden Puffin, being awarded only to first or second time directors.

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 film making, 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 films 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 film production and showcases it to the outside world, thus building a bridge between Icelandic cinema and international film making.

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

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

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

Focus On – We shine the spotlight on a national cinema; This year RIFF focus is on Austrian films.

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 glint on the silver screen. Honorary guests in 2019 are the french director Claire Denis and american actor John Hawkes

International Shorts

Icelandic Shorts

Honorary Guests of Past Festivals

Our guests throughout the years have included: 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, Darren Aronofsky, Deepa Mehta, Werner Herzog, Olivier Assayas, Valeska Grisebach, Jonas Mekas, Laila Pakalnina, Sergei Loznitsa and Mads Mikkelsen.


This year’s festival will be the 16th edition of RIFF, taking place between the 26th of September and 6th of October.