From Iceland — The End Of RIFF?

The End Of RIFF?

Published December 27, 2013

An Independence Party councillor opposes to the city council’s decision to stop sponsoring RIFF, saying it might ruin the film festival’s chances of any funding.

Reykjavík’s city council has approved its budget for 2014 which includes that rather than sponsoring the Reykjavík International Film Festival, the city supports Heimili kvikmyndanna of eight million ISK.

That was according to suggestions put forth by a professional group on behalf of BÍL (Federation of Icelandic Artists).

Heimili kvikmyndanna is a non-profit organization that consists of various associations within the Icelandic film industry and operates Bíó Paradís, amongst other things, which the city already sponsors.

“I’m very critical of the RIFF trademark being sacrificed, a ten year old trademark that the city has invested a lot in,” councillor Þorbjörg Helga Vigfúsdóttir told Morgunblaðið.

She has a seat in the city’s Culture and Tourism Committee.

“I’m of the opinion that if the city cancels its support to RIFF, the premises for RIFF’s funding from elsewhere have gone. We’re not considering keeping [the festival} alive or ensuring competition between festivals; this one-way decision has been made to help a new project, without anything solid being presented about what’s behind it.”

Þorbjörg said that Independence Party councillors in the city’s Culture and Tourism Committee had agreed with all the suggestions made by BÍL, except for the one about RIFF and Bíó Paradís.

The city’s policy on film festivals was indeed very unclear.

The Culture and Tourism Committee assigned 70 million ISK to projects in 2014, according to suggestions made by BÍL. Bíó Paradís will receive 14.5 million but RIFF, which was sponsored by 9 million ISK this year, receives nothing.

Best Party councillor Margrét Kristín Blöndal, who also has a seat in the committee, told Morgunblaðið that it’s not the city’s responsibility to keep RIFF alive.

“RIFF has received a lot of financial support in the past few years and done a good job. Anyone can apply for funding from the city and this year, a professional group suggested this. There’s nothing that indicates that I should doubt the group’s opinions on specific matters. I trust them completely.”

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