The Reykjavik Independent Film Festival (RIFF)

Reykjavik Independent Film Festival

The Reykjavik Independent Film Festival (RIFF) takes place every fall, and is an exciting event for movie lovers from around the world. The annual film festival brings in the best of the best from Iceland and around the world. The 2020 Reykjavik Independent Film Festival is sure to be a particularly special event. Surely we’ll have some amazing films such as “The Orphanage”, which was the winner of the Golden Puffin 2019. Let’s take a deeper dive into what makes this festival so special.

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Reykjavik Independent Film Festival Moviegoers

History of The Reykjavik Film Festival

The RIFF was created in 2004 by an eclectic group of film professionals and enthusiasts. Director Hrönn Marinósdóttir led the charge in its creation. His goal was to display progressive and innovative films.  He also wanted to cultivate a space where professionals and enthusiasts from around the world could network and collaborate.

Hrönn Marinósdóttir’s vision has undoubtedly grown above and beyond its modest goals since the 14 years of its inception. The festival also manages an extensive library of video content. They provide information about the industry and other events and coordinates dinners and activities for attending guests. Each year, the festival hand picks independent films and filmmakers from around the world to celebrate and display their work. This is the perfect venue to get acquainted with the newest up-and-coming talent in the film industry. And, each year participants can submit their independent films in hopes of taking home the distinguished Golden Puffin award we mentioned earlier. Only first or second-time directors are eligible to win the prize.

RIFF: The Program

Since its inception in 2004, the RIFF has screened close to 100 feature films from all around the world. That’s a lot of movies. So, get your popcorn ready, suspend your disbelief, and get ready to enjoy some high-quality cinema. With so much high-quality content it can be challenging to decide which film to see, but the Reykjavik Independent Film Festival has you covered. The RIFF has split the content into succinct and intuitive categories making it effortless to attend your favorite genre. Every year’s program holds some genuinely spectacular gems from a wide array of styles. Let’s take a look at the different categories.

Reykjavik Independent Film Festival

RIFF Film Categories and Groups

Icelandic Panorama is my favorite category. The goal of this category is to highlight and showcase everything that makes Iceland unique and present it in an approachable avenue to foreigners. If you really want to get a complete understanding of what makes Iceland so unique and breathtaking, then I would highly recommend picking any film from this category.

If you are interested in how to make a positive change in the world, then you should stick with the category A Different Tomorrow. This collection of films and media helps us become better global citizens. This is especially important in a world that is constantly threatened by environmental changes, and Iceland has already started to feel the effects (=== ===).

The broadest and most eclectic category at the RIFF is without a doubt the Open Seas subgroup of films. Open Seas showcases movies and filmmakers from around the world, and they only display works from the most respected and talented film industry professionals. These are but a handful of the categories in which films and movies will split into. There is also a documentary group, a youth program, and many more.

Previous Guests of Honor: Jonas Mekas at RIFF 2018

We had a very special guest of honor, Jonas Mekas, at our 2018 edition. Mekas has been making a name for himself since the 1970s. He served as a significant catalyst and driving force in the art scene from this decade and helped shaped the careers of Andy Warhol, Salvador Dalí, and even John Lennon. Mekas is often regarded as the godfather of the avant-garde film. His work pushed the boundaries of what was thought to be possible, or even, acceptable at the time.

Mekas is most famous for his incredibly personal and intimate portrayals of western cultures most divisive figures. Jackie Kennedy, Allen Ginsberg, and even Iceland’s very own Björk have been the subject of his works. He may be most famous for his contributions to film, but most people don’t know he is an accomplished poet in his native tongue of Lithuanian. He has published various written works in French, German, and English.

Reykjavik Independent Film Festival

The man serves an apt representation of a Renaissance Man, and the RIFF will featured his work extensively over the course of the festival. Many attended one of the showings of his groundbreaking films and were very happy they did so.

It was a wonderful collaboration and I sincerely hope the film festival will continue bringing together creators and movie buffs to share their love of cinema.

RIFF 2020 and Beyond

Cultivating a high-level of film and media excellence is the goal of the RIFF. For over a decade they have done a stunning job at introducing a new generation of creatives to works that they may have never been aware of. Iceland is often solely known for its stunning landscapes and vistas. But it is rarely thought of as a bastion of creativity in the medium of film. Come to the festival to check out the best of the best that Iceland has to offer. Not only that, but you can also watch films brought to us from around the world. If you are seeking for the perfect catalyst to propel your creativity into winter than look no further than the Reykjavik Independent Film Festival.

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