What’s the difference between a big-budget feature film and a low-budget independent film? The assumption once was that major releases got the money for their promotion because they were in fact better films and that if a movie didn’t have the funding for promotion, well, that was probably because they just weren’t very good. Over the past fifteen years or so, however, outstanding independent feature films have slowly received more of the attention they deserve to the point where today, a large segment of the movie-going public no longer equates high publicity with high quality and independent films are almost accepted with same openness as a major feature.
In the spirit of Icelandic independent film, the Reykjavík Film Festival features film screenings, discussions, lectures, and a conference on film and society with distinguished guests, such as director Guy Maddin and producer Sigurjón Sighvatsson. The film program consists of sixteen feature and documentary films that reflect Icelandic filmmaking in an international context. Among the film screened are Guy Maddin’s new feature film The Saddest Music in the World, a number of critically acclaimed films by Canadian-Icelandic director Sturla Gunnarsson, director María Sólrún Gunnarsdóttir’s award-winning film Jargo, Helgi Felixson’s and Titti Johnson’s documentary Beneath the Stars and Hrafnhildur Gunnarsdóttir’s film on third-generation Palestinians living in refugee camps in Lebanon, Alive in Limbo. The films screened at the program share a widely international and multi-cultural focus. Among films in the side program are Jehane Noujaim’s documentary Control Room, which deals with media coverage of the Iraq War, and two critically acclaimed films from the Balkans, Mila from Mars and Beneath Her Window.
For information on screening times and locations, go to reykjavikfilmfestival.com