Tickets sales have now begun for RIFF (Reykjavik International Film Festival), which begins on September 28th and will run until October 8th at Háskólabíó. This was announced at a press conference held on September 18th at Hagatorg near Háskólabíó. The opening film is 'Tilverur,' a debut by Ninna Pálmadóttir, and the closing film is 'Poor Things' by Yorgos Lanthimos, which received the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival earlier this month."

We will celebrate the 20th edition of RIFF! Over 80 feature films will be screened, along with a number of short films from 63 different countries. RIFF will host a multitude of Nordic premieres, and many of the films come from the most prestigious festivals around the world, such as Cannes, Venice, Toronto, and Rotterdam. This is a unique opportunity to see the best films of the year, as most of them will not continue to be shown in local theaters!

Hrönn Marinósdóttir, stjórnandi hátíðarinnar kynnti dagskrá hátíðarinnar.

Screenings during these eleven days will take place at Háskólabíó, which is the main venue of RIFF, as well as at the Nordic House and Slippbíó. Additionally, RIFF's film schedule will extend throughout the city – in small shops, libraries, the Lækjartorg greenhouse, whale-watching boats, and hotels – under the name RIFF around town. Furthermore, the RIFF project extends across the entire country of Iceland.

These films are said to reflect the very best that international filmmaking has to offer. They include new quality films of various genres by well-known directors such as Luca Guadagnino, Wim Wenders, Werner Herzog, Catherine Breillat, Angela Schanelec, and Yorgos Lanthimos, alongside innovative films by emerging directors competing for the Golden Puffin. These are true masterpieces where often new paths are explored in the art of filmmaking.

Frá fjölmiðlafundi RIFF 2023

A large number of exciting titles


Among the films that RIFF is showing this year, there is the Finnish comedy film "FAMILY TIME," which is the debut work of Tia Kouvo and gained recognition at the Berlinale earlier this year. "SWEET EAST" by Sean Price Williams, which received awards since its premiere at Cannes last spring, "BAAN" by Leonor Teles, which premiered to critical acclaim at Locarno this summer, "MAY DECEMBER" by Todd Haynes and Natalie Portman, "The Taste of Things" by Anh Hung Tran, starring Juliette Binoche, "ANTARCTICA CALLING" by our honored guest Luc Jacquet, which premiered at the prestigious Rotterdam Film Festival recently, "ON THE ADAMANT" by Nicolas Philibert, which won the Golden Bear in Berlin, "ORLANDO My Political Biography" by Paul B. Preciado, "LA BETE" by Bertrand Bonelle, featuring Léa Seydoux in the lead role and garnered critical acclaim at its premiere in Venice earlier this month, "L’ETE DERNIER" by Catherine Breillat, "THEATER OF THOUGHT" by Werner Herzog, "ANSELM" by Wim Wenders, "WHAT REMAINS" by Ran Huang, starring Gustaf and Stellan Skarsgård in the lead roles, and "SIDONIE IN JAPAN" by Élise Girard, featuring Isabelle Huppert in the lead role. The latter film made a significant impact in Venice, where it had its world premiere.

Poor Things eftir Yorgos Lanthimos
Úr „Poor Things“ eftir Yorgos Lanthimos sem er lokamynd RIFF 2023.

In celebration of its 20th festival, Icelandic short films that have received awards at RIFF throughout the years will be screened. Additionally, a beautiful photography exhibition showcasing RIFF's history will be held at the Nordic House, with installations on display in Pósthússtræti. Háskólabíó will also be transformed into a comprehensive cultural center with art exhibitions, charity dining options for the hungry, and a cozy cinema atmosphere. Competitions will be held for most films at RIFF, and participants will be invited to a grand closing ceremony on October 7th to mark the end of the festival.

Ticket sales for individual screenings have started, and the RIFF app is now available for use. Discounted passes are being sold, where a single ticket costs around 1400 Icelandic króna if you buy an 8-ticket pass, and this pass is valid for all films. The festival pass offers a 20% discount for students, disabled individuals, and senior citizens.

France in Focus


French filmmaking takes the spotlight at RIFF this year, and we offer our audience a rich and intriguing selection of contemporary French films and short films.

France boasts one of the oldest and largest film industries in the world. The history of French cinema is intertwined with the history of filmmaking itself, as it was French brothers, Auguste and Louis Lumière, who held the world's first public film screening in Paris in 1895. Ever since, the French have been at the forefront of film development, with many internationally renowned filmmakers such as Georges Méliès, Jean-Luc Godard, François Truffaut, Agnès Varda, Brigitte Bardot, and Gérard Depardieu, to name just a few. In RIFF 2023, over 30 full-length films from France will be showcased, celebrating the rich heritage of French cinema.

RIFF lundinn í túlkun Hugleiks Dagssonar.
The RIFF puffin mascot interpreted by artist Hugleikur Dagsson.

RIFF by numbers


    • This year, RIFF is taking place for the twentieth time, and the festival will present a total of 248 film works. 248 kvikmyndaverk. 
    • 87 features will be shown and 161 short movies.
    • 113 movies are made by women and 130 are made by men.
    • RIFF will show movies from 63 different countries. sýnir myndir frá 63 mismunandi löndum á borð við: 
  • RIFF is truly an international festival, featuring films from Iceland, Slovakia, the United Kingdom, Ireland, the United States, Finland, Sweden, Chile, France, Denmark, Spain, Vietnam, Singapore, Lithuania, Israel, Portugal, Germany, Argentina, Mexico, Serbia, Romania, Croatia, Austria, Greece, and many more countries.
  • This year, RIFF is taking place for the twentieth time, and the festival will present a total of 248 film works.

Awarded Titles


  • Numerous films that have already won international awards will be screened at RIFF 2023. Here are a few examples.
  • "Inside the Yellow Cocoon Shell" by Thien An Pham, winner of the Camera d'Or for Best Picture at Cannes. eftir Thien An Pham – Camera d’Or sigurvegari fyrir bestu mynd á Cannes.
  • The Settlers by Felipe Gálvez - FIPRESCI award
  • The Taste of Things By Tran Anh Hùng – Besti Director at Cannes
  • Orlando, My Political Biography By Paul B. Preciado – Berlinale Encounters: Special Jury award
  • The Klezmer Project by Leandro Koch, Paloma Schachmann – Best debut in documentaries at GWFF

RIFF 2023 awards


The competition category for films at RIFF is called "Vitranir" (New Visions), where eight films by emerging directors (their first or second works) compete for the festival's top award, the Golden Puffin. These awards have been presented since 2005, and with them, RIFF aims to support young and promising directors.

The Green Puffin (Græni Lundinn) is an environmental award given to individuals who have contributed to nature conservation through their work in filmmaking. This year, the recipient of the Green Puffin at RIFF is Luc Jacquet.

RIFF 2023 will feature an annual competition for Icelandic short films, with awards provided by RÚV and Trickshot for the best film. The screenings of these films will take place in two parts, with each part being shown in its entirety. The screenings will occur at Háskólabíó on September 30 for the first part and on October 1 for the second part. RIFF heldur árlega samkeppni íslenskra stuttmynda og munu RÚV og Trickshot veita verðlaun fyrir bestu myndina. Sýningar á myndunum fara fram í tveimur hlutum og horft er á hvorn þeirra í heilu lagi. Sýningar munu fara fram í Háskólabíó þann 30. september á fyrri hlutanum og 1. október á þeim seinni. 

Honorary awards will be presented at RIFF to honor the special guests who come to Iceland for the festival. The President of Iceland, Guðni Th. Jóhannesson, will present the awards at Bessastadir on behalf of RIFF.

Guðni Th. Jóhannesson, forseti Íslands mun veita heiðursverðlaun RIFF.
Guðni Th. Jóhannesson, forseti Íslands mun veita heiðursverðlaun RIFF.

Special Events


  • RIFF is known for hosting a variety of special events each year, and this year is no exception. One of the unique events will take place at the ice caves of Langjökull, where on October 4th, an event called "jöklabíó" (glacier cinema) will be held. The documentary "Into the Ice" by Lars H. Ostenfeld will be screened during this event.
  • Additionally, there will be a unique opportunity to attend "hellabíó" (cave cinema) at Raufarhólshellir on September 30th. The screenings will include both the animated film "Scarygirl" from 2023 and the horror classic "Arachnophobia" from the year 1990. hellabíó í Raufarhólshelli sem mun fara fram þann 30. september með sýningum á bæði teiknimyndinni Scarygirl frá 2023 og hrollvekjunni Arachnophobia frá árinu 1990. 
  • For those seeking a more relaxed and cozy atmosphere, there will be an opportunity to enjoy a visual dining experience at the Nordic House. Sónó catering will prepare delicious dishes in connection with the screening of the animated film "Ratatouille" on September 30th and October 1st.
  • „Sorgarstig“ lifandi tónleikar (4. október):    "Sorgarstig" live music (October 4th): In this unique musical event, the harmonica player Þorleifur Gaukur Davíðsson will perform alongside the pianist Davíð Þór Jónsson and guitarist Skúli Sverrisson, delivering music inspired by the short film "Sorgarstig." The musical piece "Sorgarstig" tells the story of a group of talented musicians who come together in the aftermath of a personal loss at an abandoned power station, channeling their emotions into a live jam session.
Frá síðasta hellabíói RIFF árið 2022.
Frá síðasta hellabíói RIFF árið 2022.

RIFF 2023 Categories


  • Vitranir / New Visions
  • Fyrir opnu hafi / Open Seas
  • Önnur framtíð / A Different Tomorrow
  • Heimildarmyndir / Documentaries
  • Tónlistarmyndir / Cinema Beats
  • Sjö sniðugar / Smart7
  • Frakkland í fókus / France in Focus
  • Meistarar og heiðursgestir / Masters and Honorary Guests
  • Ísland í sjónarrönd / Icelandic Panorama
  • Íslenskar verðlaunamyndir í gegnum árin / Icelandic Winner’s Through the Years
  • Myndir úr norðri / Films From the North
  • Teiknimyndir frá Lettlandi / Latvian Animation
  • Miðnæturtryllar / Midnight Thrills
  • Alþjóðlegar stuttmyndir / International Shorts


Standing Ovation


RIFF would not be possible without the support of the Ministry of Education, Science, and Culture, the City of Reykjavik, and Creative Europe, as well as the significant contributions from companies and institutions such as Iceland Hotel Collection By Berjaya, RÚV (Icelandic National Broadcasting Service), Hertz, Luxor, Icelandair, TVG Zimsen, numerous embassies around the world, and many others. Their involvement is crucial to the success and sustainability of the festival.