This year’s Reykjavík International Film Festival (RIFF) will be held on 28 September, all the way through to 8 October. The program is made up of diverse films offering something for every film fanatic. Featuring an array of films to see over the upcoming weeks, RIFF has a lineup of honorary guests consisting of directors Werner Herzog, Olivier Assayas, and Valeska Grisebach. RIFF will be screening multiple films by each guest, along with master classes, which are open to the public. The classes are set to be hosted by Herzog and Assayas, making for a great addition to the festival.
There are several categories of RIFF, such as New Visions, where international debut films by up-and-coming filmmakers are played, then there are films from more established filmmakers overseas such as ‘Faces Places’ by Agnès Varda and Jean René or ‘Borg vs McEnroe’ from Janus Metz Pedersen, which just premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival. This year’s opening film is Hlynur Pálmason’s feature debut ‘Winter Brothers,’ an Icelandic production, highlighting the festival’s spirit. In addition, there are selections of documentaries to see. “We try to show films that give us a window of what is happening in the world,” says program coordinator Ana Catalá. “We have a documentary competition called A Different Tomorrow. Here we highlight films that take a stance on making us better citizens of the world, environmentally and socially.”
With an extensive program, one of the festival’s most key aspect is its feature of international shorts: “We have a really amazing international short film program”, says Ana. “Throughout six programs, we bring films to Iceland that break boundaries and reinvent the ways of making cinema. We have films from Toronto, Berlinale, and Locarno among others… Short films are often overlooked in film festivals, but these emerging filmmakers are the ones that are going to have a lot to say in the near future”.
For your average moviegoer, RIFF takes part in the kick-off to the movie season. “Iceland is thriving,” Ana says. “There are so many great films being made here. It’s a great production country. Iceland is a very strategic place because of its connection between Europe and North America. Many people from all over the world come to the Reykjavík International Film Festival.”