UngRIFF Children’s film festival 

UngRIFF Children’s film festival 

The children’s film festival UngRIFF will be held for the first time this year alongside RIFF – Reykjavik International Film Festival. It is planned for the festival to commence with a premiere one day before RIFF on September 27th.

This is the first time the festival is being held as a separate event, according to Óli Valur Pétursson, the director of UngRIFF. “We are launching this as a festival for the first time and we are extremely proud of the program we are offering,” he says.

“The goal of UngRIFF is to create a platform for children and young people between the ages of 2 and 16 to visit cinemas and have a space to express themselves. We believe that all children have the right to have the opportunity to experience the magical world of films regardless of their origin, gender, or place of residence.”

Events under the UngRIFF banner have been held at RIFF for many years, but it has been decided to have a separate festival with the arrival of new grants from the Ministry of Education, the City of Reykjavik, and MEDIA, as part of the Creative Europe program.


Óli Valur Project manager at UngRIFF

Youth Council for UngRIFF

A special youth council will be established around the festival, which will actively participate in its organization. UngRIFF will soon announce the recruitment of teenagers between the ages of 13 and 16 who are interested in filmmaking. Young people who have an interest in filmmaking are encouraged to keep an eye out in the coming days.

“By involving children in the organization of the festival, they can call it their own,” says Óli Valur, who also states that the idea behind the youth council is to involve children in the organization of UngRIFF, allowing them to choose the events they are interested in and participate in creating artistic workshops at the festival.

UngRIFF across the country

Among the activities at the festival, special school screenings for elementary schools will be held in collaboration with cinemas throughout the country. Additionally, children’s screenings will take place at selected libraries in Reykjavik.

“We invite all schools in the capital area, along with schools in four selected locations in rural areas, to attend special school screenings free of charge,” says Óli Valur. Furthermore, the festival will distribute short films to schools and community centers throughout the country, which can be used as educational materials and for entertainment purposes.

A special part of the festival will be the art workshops held throughout the year. These workshops will provide children with an insight into filmmaking and are designed to enhance the film literacy of young people.

“We have, among others, the artist Viktoría Guðnadóttir, who will teach children how to make minute-long short films in one of the workshops,” says Óli Valur, who mentions other exciting elements in the organization. “For example, a workshop that teaches children film literacy and critical thinking by creating their own film reviews,” he says.

Five festivals join forces

The expansion of UngRIFF this year is in collaboration with a joint project by five major film festivals in the Nordic countries, of which RIFF is a part.

All five festivals have received support from the MEDIA program of Creative Europe to promote Nordic children’s and youth films in the region through the Nordic Junior Sessions Network (NoJSe) collaboration network.

The goal of the collaboration network is to distribute the strongest Nordic films for children, young people, parents, and teachers across all Nordic countries, as well as to be a hub where all Nordic children’s and youth media professionals can meet, exchange experiences, and set an ambitious framework for the future of Nordic children’s and youth films.