The best of the best have joined the group of world-famous filmmakers who will visit Iceland for RIFF 2023, which takes place from September 28th to October 8th.

We proudly announce two additional honored guests: the French award-winning director Nicolas Philibert, who recently won the Golden Bear at the Berlin International Film Festival, and the French filmmaker and author Catherine Breillat, whose latest film, "Last Summer," garnered significant attention at Cannes this spring. The film explores the relationship between an older woman and a younger man.

Lilja Alfreðsdóttir, the Minister of Culture and Business, will award them with an honorary recognition for their outstanding artistic contributions and their contributions to the world of filmmaking during the opening ceremony of the festival on September 28th at Háskólabíó.

Nicolas Philibert is one of the most famous and revered film directors in France, and his films often serve as sensitive explorations of the everyday life of humanity. He is perhaps best known for his film "To Be and to Have" (Être et avoir) (2002), which premiered at the Cannes Film Festival and received the Louis Delluc Award before achieving remarkable success on the international stage. The film will be screened at RIFF, and the festival will also showcase his latest work, "On the Adamant," on September 29th at Háskólabíó, where the director will engage in a Q&A session after the screening.

Philibert will also participate in a master talk at 10:30 AM at Slippbarnir, where guests will have the opportunity to gain insight into his remarkable career spanning several decades. The discussion will be moderated by Helga Rakel Rafnsdóttir, a film director.

Catherine Breillat has dedicated her career to provocative and challenging films that explore sexuality and sexual orientation. Some of her films have been considered controversial, and her first film, "A Real Young Girl" (1975), was banned in many countries for its explicit content. After a ten-year hiatus, she returns with the film "Síðasta sumar" (L’été Dernier), which premiered at the Cannes Film Festival and is now being screened at RIFF. Catherine Breillat will participate in a Q&A session after the screening of the film on October 1st, with the screening starting at 16:00.

RIFF (Reykjavik International Film Festival) welcomes a large group of guests every year, all coming together to create the unique atmosphere that prevails at the festival. There is a palpable sense of excitement in the air upon the arrival of these special guests.

As previously mentioned, special emphasis will be placed on French cinema (France in focus) at RIFF this year, and these honored guests play a key role in celebrating the filmmaking from this European country that has played a pivotal role in the history of cinema.


Catherine Breillat

The French filmmaker and writer Catherine Breillat (born 1948) is known for her sensitive and provocative works that explore sexuality, gender dynamics, and family conflicts. Over her 50-year career, she has repeatedly challenged traditional norms with her erotic works.

Breillat began her filmmaking career with a role in Bernardo Bertolucci's "Last Tango in Paris" (1972). Her directorial debut, "A Real Young Girl" (1975), based on her own novel "Le Soupirail," was banned in many countries due to its explicit sexual content and was not screened in cinemas until the year 2000. Some of her later works, such as "Nocturnal Uproar" (1979) and "Romance" (1999), faced similar controversies. Breillat's directorial career comprises 20 films, including daring titles like "Fat Girl" (2001) and "Anatomy of Hell" (2004). Her latest film after a ten-year hiatus, "Síðasta sumar" (2023), premiered at the Cannes Film Festival and is now being screened at RIFF.

Catherine Breillat's storytelling goes far beyond simple provocation. Her films often explore themes that transcend those addressed by other filmmakers, and through complex characters, audiences gain insight into a feminine world that challenges conventional norms. At the twentieth RIFF festival, we celebrate this fearless filmmaker who is always unafraid to depict the unsaid.

Nicolas Philibert

One of France's most revered documentary filmmakers, Nicolas Philibert (born 1951), is known for his artistic and sensitive explorations of the everyday lives of humanity.

Philibert took his first steps as a filmmaker in the late 1970s when he assisted esteemed directors like René Allio and Alain Tanner. Over the following decades, he transitioned from television production to feature-length documentaries, gaining recognition for works such as "La Ville Louvre" (1990), "In the Land of the Deaf" (1992), and "Every Little Thing" (1997).

One of Philibert's most popular films, "To Be and to Have" (2002), premiered at the Cannes Film Festival and received the Louis Delluc Award before achieving remarkable success on the international stage. In his latest masterpiece, "On the Adamant" (2023), which won the top prize at Berlinale this year, Philibert provides a magnificent insight into the lives of adults with developmental disabilities.

In the twentieth edition of RIFF, we celebrate the magnificent journey and films of Nicolas Philibert, who has consistently captured the world with a sincere and exploratory lens.


Honorary guests of past years

RIFF has had the honor of welcoming a remarkable array of guests over the years, connecting culture and filmmaking. Some examples of the distinguished individuals who have previously graced RIFF with their presence include:

Rossy de Palma, Alexandre O. Phillipe, Albert Serra, Joachim Trier, Trine Dyrholm, Debbie Harry, John Hawkes, Mads Mikkelsen, Shailene Woodley, Werner Herzog, Darren Aronofsky, Chloe Sevigny and Lone Scherfig.