Awards & Juries

Over the years we have screened many outstanding films by brave and artistic voices at RIFF. The ones that show artistic excellence and break boundaries will win awards. The films in our New Visions section will compete for the most acclaimed award of the festival:  The Golden Puffin, whose recipient will be named Discovery of the Year. 

An award will be also given the most outstanding film in the documentary competition section A Different Tomorrow.

Short films from the participants in the Talent Lab will compete for the Golden Egg.

And we also award the best of our national cinema with our Best Icelandic Short and the Best International Short in our International Shorts competitive section.

RIFF 2021

Discovery of the Year: The Golden Puffin

The films in our competitive category New Visions are all debut or sophomore efforts. One will be named Discovery of the Year and receive the Golden Puffin.



Yorgos Krassakopoulos

Head of Programming Thessaloniki Film Festival

Yorgos Krassakopoulos is the Head of Programming at the Thessaloniki International Film Festival and the Thessaloniki Documentary film Festival. A film critic, and programmer, he is also the co-founder of the most important and influential Greek film related publication, and member of the European Parliament’s LUX Prize selection committee.


Trine Dyrholm


Trine Dyrholm is one of Denmark's most famous and successful actresses as well as an accomplished singer-songwriter and director. In 1998 Dyrholm landed a breakout role as a bewildered hotel maid in the chaotic family drama ""The Celebration,"" the first film created under the strict rules of Dogme 95. She also won acclaim for her role as a tortured miracle worker in ""In Your Hands,"" which commemorated the tenth anniversary of the influential Danish film movement. The international audience got to know Dyrholm in her role as a bitter wife and mother in the Oscar-winning drama ""In a Better World”. During her prolific career, Dyrholm continued to mesmerise the audience and critics all over the world in her well-chosen roles. In the family TV-drama The Legacy, Susanne Bier’s All You Need Is Love and Thomas Vinterberg’s The Commune, for which she won a Silver Bear at the Berlin International Film Festival in 2016. Dyrholm combined her acting and singing skills in the international success Nico, 1988, directed by Susanna Nichiarelli. The critically acclaimed Queen of Hearts, premiered at both the Sundance Film Festival and the Gothenburg Film Festival in January 2019. In Sundance, the feature won Audience Award in the World Cinema Dramatic competition. In Gothenburg, Queen of Hearts was rewarded The Dragon Award for Best Film and Trine Dyrholm received the festival’s first ever Best Actor Award. In 2020, Dyrholm’s acting brilliance came alive again in the Danish First World War feature Erna At War for which she received a Robert nomination, The Danish Film Academy’s Award. On her next project, Dyrholm goes further back in history portraying the Danish 1500-century Queen Margrete, directed by Charlotte Sieling and premiering worldwide during the fall of 2021.

Gagga Jons

Gagga Jóns


Gagga Jónsdóttir is an Icelandic director, writer and producer. She has worked in the film business from a young age and has worked on numerous features and tv shows, both local and international. Gagga´s directorial debut was the the satirical comedy show The mayor; created by Jón Gnarr, where she directed 2 episodes. Gagga´s first feature as a director - the comedy Saumaklubburinn (Stitch n´bitch) was premiered in Iceland in June 2021 and has had great reviews and attendance, Gagga Co-wrote the script with Snjolaug Ludviksdottir.. Writing credits include The feature Agnes Joy (2019), directed and co-written by Silja Hauksdottir and Johanna Fridrika Sæmundsdottir, produced by Gagga and Birgitta Bjornsdottir and Trapped III (post), created by Baltasar Kormakur and Sigurjon Kjartansson where Gagga was the show runner. Gagga is currently developing her second feature and writing for television.

Anita Briem (1)

Anita Briem


Aníta started her career at 9 years old at the Icelandic National Theatre. She trained at The Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London and subsequently appeared in plays both at the London National Theatre as well as a successful run of “Losing Louis” on the West End. Her focus then shifted to film and television and she starred in projects such as “Journey the the Center of the Earth” for Warner Bros, “The Tudors” for Showtime “Doctor Who” for BBC and “The Evidence” for ABC. She has recently moved back to her home country of Iceland following her desire to work with more European filmmakers. Last year she starred in “The Minister” (tv series) alongside Ólafur Darri Ólafsson, for which she was nominated for an Edda. Her upcoming films include “Reply to Helgas Letter” (dir. Ása Helga Hjörleifsdóttir), Chicken Boy (dir. Guðmundur Arnar Guðmundsson), Quake (dir. Tinna Hrafnsdóttir) and Villibráð (dir. Elsa María Jakobsdóttir). Aníta is also taking her first steps as a writer with her tv series “As Long as we Live”, which is being produced by GlassRiver.


Gísli Örn Garðarsson


Gísli Örn Garðarsson is one of the founders of Vesturport. He has acted in, directed, written and produced theatre productions all over the world. In 2011 Vesturport was awarded the European Theatre Awards for its outstanding work. Gisli shares one of the leading roles in Netflix’s Ragnarok and he is one of the writers, directors and producers of the TV series Blackport (Verbúðin), an 8 episode Drama Series, which will have its premier at the end of the year. The series recently won the Grand Prix Award at Series Mania in France.

Best Icelandic Short and Best Icelandic Student Short

In this competitive category one director will get the prize of the Best Icelandic Short. The jury also awards the best Icelandic Student Short this year.


Nathalie Mierop2

Nathalie Mierop

Promotion Manager Feature Films at SEE NL

After her studies of Spanish Language and Literature in Barcelona and Utrecht Nathalie Mierop started working at the Latin-American department of public broadcaster Radio Netherlands Worldwide. She then moved to the film industry and worked for several festivals, among which the International Film Festival Rotterdam, Rio de Janeiro International Film Festival and the Holland Film Meeting of the Netherlands Film Festival. Since 2010 Nathalie works for Eye Filmmuseum as Promotion Manager Feature Films at SEE NL (formerly Eye International). SEE NL, a collaboration between Eye Filmmuseum and the Netherlands Film Fund, is dedicated to the international promotion of Dutch films, film professionals and film culture.

Thora Clausen

Þóra Björg Clausen

Head or Programming and Acquisitions

Thora has been in the content industry since 2001 initially working in production but then gradually moving into programming in 2008. She worked at ITC-Skjarinn for seven years as Assistant Head of Programming but moved to Vodafone Iceland in 2015 to work as Head of Operations for Vodafone‘s non-linear platform. After the merger of 365 Media into Vodafone, Thora assumed the position of Head of Content and Operations in Channel 2‘s Programming Department working across the company‘s linear and non-linear platforms. In December 2020 Thora assumed the role of Head or Programming and Acquisitions for Syn‘s key media brands Channel 2 and Channel 2+.

Producer Anton Máni Svansson_Photo_by_Bryndís Helgadóttir_edited

Anton Máni Svansson

Producer at Joint Motion Pictures

Anton Máni Svansson co-founded Join Motion Pictures in 2007 with the goal of forging close working relationships with talented writer-directors, a dynamic that has resulted in over 160 international awards for films which have been sold to over 60 countries and premiered in competition at A festivals around the world, including Cannes, Venice, Locarno, Toronto and IDFA. Titles include HEARTSTONE, WINTER BROTHERS, and A WHITE, WHITE DAY. Svansson is an EAVE 2014 graduate, was Iceland’s 2017 Producer on the Move in Cannes, and won a Lorens Award for Best Producer in Goteborg Film Festival the same year.

A Different Tomorrow Award

The films in A Different Tomorrow shed light on environmental and humanitarian topics because, sometimes, the right film can change the world. The most outstanding groundbreaking film in this section will be receive our A Different Tomorrow Award



Guillaume Calop

Les Arcs

After working for the Annecy animation festival, Guillaume participated to the launching of the Animation World Network website in Los Angeles. He then worked for CANAL+ and launched his own DVD publishing company Chalet Pointu. In 2009, he co-created Les Arcs Film Festival and is the general manager since then. Guillaume is also taking part of Le Lab Femmes de Cinéma, a think tank to raise the issues of women in cinema, and is co-founder of Le Village, a software company who published FestiCiné and Coprocity, two platforms for festivals, market and the film industry.

Marie Zeniter

Marie Zeniter


Born in Paris, Marie has lived on both US coasts, in Japan, and in Canada. After a Master degree in International Business Negotiation, she worked for Canal+ within the Film department, and for the MIPTV and MIPCOM markets in Cannes. In 2012, she was selected by the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs to develop French businesses abroad and moved to New York. Shortly after, she joined US in Progress to handle filmmaker outreach and submissions before becoming Senior Programmer / Organizer of the biannual event. At IFC, she handled Midnight and repertory titles, and moved to Magnolia Pictures in 2019 to handle Festivals and International Sales.

Silja Hauksdóttir kvikmyndaleikstjóri

Silja Hauksdóttir


Silja Hauksdóttir is a director and writer from Reykjavík, Iceland. She holds a B.A. degree in philosophy from the University of Iceland, degree in filmmaking from FAMU and M.F.A. in performance arts from The Iceland University of Arts. Her latest feature film, Agnes Joy premiered in 2019 and was the highest grossing Icelandic film of the year. It won several awards at the Icelandic Edda Awards 2020, e.g., Best screenplay, Best film, and Best actress. Silja also directed and co-wrote an adaption of the critically acclaimed novel Kópavogskrónika by Kamilla Einarsdóttir which was premiered at the National Theatre in 2020. Furthermore, Silja directed and co-wrote the six-episode drama/crime series Sisterhood which was premiered in Iceland in spring 2021 and nominated for the 2021 Nordisk Film og TV Fond Prize. She is currently developing her third feature film and lives with her family in Reykjavík.

Best International Short

With urgency and determination, the talented filmmakers in this section make us travel beyond the borders of reality, expanding the scope of our imagination, reinventing cinema within every frame. The bravest voice will be awarded our Best International Short.


Sonja 2

Sonja Wyss


Sonja Wyss (1967) is a long-established artist, who works and lives in Amsterdam. She was born in the Bahamas and studied Fine Arts in Switzerland, Amsterdam and in the United States of America before completing her Master of Film Studies at the Netherlands Film Academy in Amsterdam. Her video installations and experimental films are shown internationally at renowned galleries, museums and film festivals. Her video film Grüezi wohl Frau Stirnimaa (Hello Miss Stirnimaa) was selected in for Quinzaine des Realisateurs in Cannes. Winterstilte (Winter Silence), Wyss’s experimental feature film debut, won a Golden Calf, was selected for the prestigious Forum at the Berlin Film Festival and has been screened worldwide at numerous international festivals. Farewell Paradise is Wyss’s first documentary. While the images keep on being as powerful and commanding as in her previous works, for the first time, dialogue plays an important role. Her work has been awarded internationally, winning several grants and prizes. Working between installations and cinema, Wyss uses clear lines to connect her entire body of work. She draws from memories, fantasies and associations. Her fascination lies in two main themes: fragile beauty and the loss of innocence. In the stories she tells there is often an underlying tension lurking just beneath the obvious narrative. She (never) explains situations, but depicts them beautifully all the more. Filmography: 1996: Get off my back (Video, 5 min). 1998: To Date (Video, 5 min.). Purity (Video, 5 min.). Pippi (Video, 30 min.), 1999: Grüezi wohl Frau Stirnimaa / Hello Miss Stirnimaa (Video, 3 min.). 2000 Purity (Video, 5min.). 2001 Hoch-Zyte / Wedding Bells (Video, 6 min.). 2002 Die Krähe / The Crow (Video, 8 min.). 2007 Ich will raus / I want to get out (Video, 5 min.). 2008 Winterstilte / Winter Silence (Film, 70 min.). 2010 Krinoline (Video, 5 min.). 2013: Greifensee (Film, 10 min.). 2014: What Time is it (Film, 16 min.). 2016: She/Her (Film, 10 min.). 2019: While She Waits (Film, 10 min.). Farewell Paradise (Film, 93 min).


Ninna Pálmadóttir


Ninna Pálmadóttir is an Icelandic filmmaker. She graduated with an MFA in film directing from NYU Tisch School of the Arts in 2019. Her short film ‘Paperboy’ (2019) has screened at various film festivals around the world. It won the ‘Best Icelandic Short’ award at the Reykjavík International Film Festival in 2019 and was selected to screen at TIFF’s Short Cuts: Share Her Journey Shorts, event. In 2020 ‘Paperboy’ was awarded the ‘Short film of the year’ awards at the ‘Eddan’: the Icelandic Film and Tv Academy Awards. Her thesis film ‘All Dogs Die’ was a recipient of the Spike Lee Production Fund and premiered in Iceland at RIFF 2020 and internationally at 2021 Karlovy Vary International Film Festival as a part of the Future Frames program. ‘All Dogs Die’ is a nominee for the ‘New Nordic Voice’ at Nordisk Panorama in Malmö, Sweden. She is currently in pre production on her debut feature film.


Óskar Páll


Born 1967 in Iceland, studied music and production and worked in the music industry for 20 years both as a songwriter and producer. After a successful carrier, including two number one hit singles in the UK and a top ten in the USA he started taking filmmaking courses and soon started working full time in the film industry. Oskar now runs his own production company Yoda Film in Reykjavik and is mainly focused on documentary making.


The Golden Egg Competition is a selection of films from up-and-coming directors participating in the 2021 RIFF Talent Lab.


Vincent Boy Kars

Vincent Boy Kars


Vincent Boy Kars (1990) is a Rotterdam-based filmmaker currently working on his millennial trilogy, in which he experiments with the borders between fiction and reality.

Halldora Geirhardsdottir (1)

Halldora Geirharðs


Halldóra Geirharðsdóttir is a celebrated Icelandic actress, a theatre director and a Professor of drama studies at the Arts University of Iceland.

runar runarsson

Rúnar Rúnarsson


Rúnar Rúnarsson is well established Icelandic director. Rúnar burst into the scene with the Oscar-nominated short film, The Last Farm.

The Young People´s Jury

The Young People’s Jury selects a film in our competitive category, New Visions, which are all debut or sophomore efforts.



Katla Gunnarsdóttir

The Icelandic Film School

Scriptwriting and Directing student


Kolbrún Óskarsdóttir

Commercial College of Iceland

Innovation and Arts student


Markús Logi Gunnarsson

Reykjavik Junior College

Natural Science student


Sigtýr Ægir Kárason

Iceland University of the Arts

Architecture BA student


Snædís Björnsdóttir

University of Iceland

Comparative Literature undergraduate student