Noted cultural event Reykjavík Shorts&Docs celebrates its tenth anniversary this year. We spoke to new festival director Heather Millard, who says she hopes to transform the local film fest—which until now focused on Nordic films— into an internationally recognised and respected one that will serve as a platform for Icelandic filmmakers in years to come.
“This year we have more films, from more countries, and many more international guests visiting in order represent their films or discuss distribution methods,” Heather tells me. In fact, over 75 films from over 20 countries will be screened during the four day festival, which takes place from May 6 to 9.
The festival has something for everyone: short humorous films, animations, documentaries on lighter subjects, and hard hitting docs on serious issues. Each evening’s screenings are preceded by a themed event corresponding with the evening’s films. There will also be workshops, masters classes, panel discussions, and various competitions.
Heather says the festival is strategically positioned so that it is in line with the international film festival circuit. “It falls directly after Hot Docs [in Toronto] and just before Cannes,” she tells me, “and with Iceland being positioned where it is, people are able to get here easily from North America as they are on their way to Europe. So it’s a good bridge for people on the film circuit.”
Could Reykjavík really become a hot spot for international film? “Absolutely!” Heather says. “Reykjavík is a great city and it’s manageable for international guests to get around in. There is a very strong creative industry here with a surprising amount of films being produced each year, both in the short film and documentary categories. That combined with the natural beauty of Iceland makes us sure that guests will be inspired to return year after year for the festival.”
Women In Film
This year’s festival patron is filmmaker Kim Longinotto. She has been making films for the last 35 years, often tackling controversial subjects and featuring intimate portraits of women around the world.
She received a Peabody Award and two Cannes Film Festival Awards for her film ‘Sisters In Law,’ which will incidentally screen at this year’s festival. She will host a Q&A after several of the screenings and as an added bonus she will teach a master class for filmmakers, students, and others interested.
As part of this year’s special women-in-film section UN Women will host a panel discussion after the screening of ‘Sarabah,’ a film which centres on female genital mutilation in Senegal and one woman’s grassroots campaign to end the practice. Stígamót, Iceland’s rape crisis centre, will host a panel discussion after the powerful documentary ‘The Price of Sex,’ which sheds light on the issue of human trafficking.
CAN’T CHOOSE? HERE ARE SOME PICKS
Not Such a Beautiful Landscape
– Dir. Emiliano Monaco – documentary
– Dir. Mina Djukic – short documentary
– Dir. Ali Silverstein – documentary
Being Bradford Dillman
– Dir. Emma Burch – short film
We Are Weather
– Dir. Maria Kjartans – short film
– Dir. Ísold Uggadóttir – short film