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27. SEPT. - 7. OCT. 2012



/ / AT A GLANCE “The films at this year’s RIFF were attended by a record audience and, with a programme focused on many diverse subjects and issues, it is deservedly becoming one of the most important annual film events in Europe.” Steven Yates, member of FIPRESCI and journalist at

RIFF was founded in September 2004, by a small group of film professionals and film enthusiasts, led by Festival Director Hrönn Marinósdóttir, with the goal of presenting new and progressive quality films, supporting innovation in filmmaking, networking between professionals from various parts of the world and fostering social and cultural dialogue.

// In 2012, Reykjavík International Film Festival will have its 9th edition, from September 27th to October 7th. RIFF has the modest goal of wanting to change lives. The New York Times calls it an ‘impressively large and international event,’ where, as the Guardian says, ‘some of the world’s most exciting, innovative and revered film-makers descend on [a] small, provincial town for an enormous party.’

With nearly 30,000 spectators annually, international stars like Milos Forman, Jim Jarmusch, Béla Tarr, Noam Chomsky, James Marsh and Costa-Gavras have made RIFF into one of the most insightful and entertaining annual film events in Europe.

// Up and Coming filmmakers: RIFF is a meeting place for emerging filmmakers to show new work and discuss pressing issues regarding cinematic trends. Every year, RIFF organizes the TRANSATLANTIC TALENTLAB, a workshop for young filmmakers.


// Attendance: With 130,000 guests since the first festival, 2011 was a record year with 27,000 guests. There has been a 150% increase in guest admission in the eight years since the festival began. // Key staff: Hrönn Marinósdóttir, festival director; Giorgio Gosetti, programming director; Helga Stephenson, chairman of the festival; Peter Wintonick, main doc programmer; Harlan Jacobson, programmer among others. // Board of filmmakers: Baltasar Kormákur, Dagur Kári, Fridrik Thór Fridriksson, Sigurjón Sighvatsson, Kristín Jóhannesdóttir, Elísabet Ronaldsdóttir, Valdis Óskarsdóttir. // Main sponsors: Icelandic Ministry of Education, Science and Culture, City of Reykjavík, Center Hotels, Nordic House, RÚV, Iceland Express, Síminn, DHL and Media.

“The Reykjavik International Film Festival knows how to put on a show—or at least conceive one. In addition to the solid programming (now in the hands of Giorgio Gosetti, who’s taken over for Dimitri Eipides), their annual celebrity-couch viewing (in which festival goers are invited to screen films from the comfort of local celebrities’ homes), and special swimming-pool screening (which I can’t seem to stop talking about even if I don’t dip so much as a toe into the water), this year’s edition introduced a new adventure, shrouded in mystery.”

Laura Kern, Film Society Lincoln Center, 4 October, 2011

“Reykjavik is a fabulous film festival and a fabulous town in a fabulous country. And if you ever get a chance to visit any or all of the three, seriously go out of your way. The festival is remarkably intimate and well-organized, and gives you the perfect summer camp vibe that only the best smaller film festivals pull off.”

Peter Knegt,, 4 October, 2010








/ BY NUMBERS / 2011 /



/ 2010 /



/ 2009 /



/ 2008 /



/ 2007 /



/ 2006 /



/ 2005 /



/ 2004 /



/ A BRIEF OF HISTORY More than 1000 films from all over the world have been screened at RIFF, and over 700 film professionals and hundreds of journalists and reporters, not to mention film enthusiasts and tourists, have visited the festival. The positive economic effect of the festival is undisputed. Every year, groups of visitors come to Iceland especially for the film festival in Reykjavík. Foreign directors, such as Aleksandr Sokurov, Vincent Moon, Bosse Lindquist and Judith Ehrlich, have all shot parts of their films in Iceland following their visit to RIFF. Sokurov shot Faust partly in Iceland after receiving the honorary award of the festival. During the festival he went on a location scouting tour with production company Saga Film and decided to return to make his film here. In a relatively short span of time, RIFF has made a name for itself among the more noteworthy of Europe’s film festivals, attracting internationally acclaimed guests every year, including Jim Jarmusch, Béla Tarr, Milos Forman, Peter Greenaway, Costa-Gavras, Atom Egoyan, Aleksandr Sokurov, Aki Kaurismäki, Hal Hartley, Abbas Kiarostami and Shirin Neshat, to name a few.


RIFF 2011

The Reykjavik International Film Festival was held for the 8th time in September 2011. Over 110 films were screened in 13 categories, with an emphasis on films by new and progressive directors, as well as documentaries handling social and political subjects. The festival was a resounding success, both with the local and international press. The internationally acclaimed director Béla Tarr was RIFF’s guest of honor.


/ THE GOLDEN PUFFIN OF RIFF 2005 // The Death of Mr Lazarescu by Cristi Puiu from Romania

2006 // Grbavica, by Jasmila Žbanić from Bosnia

2007 // Iska’s Journey by Csaba Bollók from Hungary

2008 // Tulpan by Sergey Dvortsevoy from Kazakhstan

2009 // I Killed My Mother by Xavier Dolan from Canada

2010 // Il Quattro Volte by Michelangelo Frammartino from Italy

2011 // Twilight Portrait by Angelina Nikonova from Russia


/ MEDIA AN PUBLICITY RIFF draws journalists from both sides of the Atlantic every year and is covered extensively before, during and after the festival itself. Publications like Variety, Screen International, Film Comment, Politiken, IndieWire, The Boston Phoenix, The New York Magazine and more follow each edition of RIFF with reviews as well as reports and interviews. Around 200 articles and reports covering the festival are published every edition.

“Iceland’s annual celebration of young film-makers is local and low-key – but atracts some of the world’s hottest names.”

Alan Evans, The Guardian, 3 October, 2011

“The festival is an impressively large and international event, not only for so small a country (population, 300,000) but also for one that was financially prostrate just three years ago, having suffered a national bankruptcy during the global crisis of 2008.”

Richard Bernstein, The New York Times, 30 September, 2011

“The Icelandic film festival has been generating a buzz since it was founded in 2004, due to its bold slate of unconventional indie film from artists on the rise, fascinating talks and master classes.”

The Guardian, 20 September, 2008

“If it continues down this path, it won’t be one of the best-kept secrets of the film festival circuit for long.”

Stylus Magazine, 16 October, 2006

“With its reputation growing every year, the Reykjavík International Film Festival is becoming an important stop on the festival circuit. Providing mostly great films with many outstanding performances and a beautiful country to see them in, there’s not really much more you can ask for.”

Stylus Magazine, 16 October, 2006 /9

/ INNOVATION, NETWORKING DIALOGUE RIFF’s main goals are to present new and progressive quality films, support innovation in filmmaking, promote social and cultural dialogue and, last but not least, continue building an international network of filmmakers and film enthusiasts. In support of innovation, RIFF aims to establish itself as a major platform for documentary filmmakers working in investigative journalism. RIFF also intends to build a significant market and a fund for progressive documentaries where the spotlight is cast on investigative journalism, the environment, human rights and more. The festival’s Grand Prix category, entitled “New Visions,” is limited to first and second works only. RIFF has thus carved a significant niche for itself among film festivals in terms of presenting and promoting new talent. RIFF has also developed a program called Minus25, with a focus on filmmakers and film enthusiasts under 25 years of age. The goal of the Minus25 program is to activate the imagination and creativity of the younger generations, and engage the cinema literacy of children in Iceland who have long been exposed to a rather monotonous cinema culture, despite the nation’s rich cultural heritage in story-telling. Networking is an important part of the festival’s activities: between young filmmakers and those with more experience; between Icelandic (Nordic) cinema and international cinema; and between filmmakers and international scholars of film and culture. RIFF also manages a market for films where new Icelandic film productions are presented to international industry professionals such as buyers and distributors. Location scouting is also provided during the festival and several collaborations have materialized from such meetings between Icelandic and foreign professionals. Dialogue has been a core theme for RIFF since the beginning. The festival has always seen it as its duty to initiate a dialogue with the community and about it, between filmmakers and festival guests, between different cultural worlds, between different art forms, between film scholars and filmmakers, etc. RIFF organizes panel discussions, lectures and debates about various subjects concerning society, culture and other contemporary affairs. We believe that this ensures a valuable connection is forged with the community, and knowledge is both absorbed and distributed. RIFF, in its own way, is a knowledge generation hub. / 10



The total budget of RIFF in 2011 was around 56M ISK. The festival is funded by general income and also by grants from public and private entities:

Public funds (ministry, city council)


Foreign funds, embassies, cultural institutions


Private companies Ticket sales and advertising revenue

20% 25%

RIFF’s budget has grown about 500% since the first year, from barely 10M ISK to 60M ISK. The basic funding comes from agreements with the Ministry of Culture and Education and Reykjavik City Council, the main sponsors provide invaluable help, and the festival has also made several contracts for exchanging services with companies like Saga Film, Iceland Excursions and HÜldur Car Rental.

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Reykjavik International Film Festival features different categories and spotlights, around 100 films and endless unforgettable moments of movie magic. / NEW VISIONS (Grand Prix Competition) – is limited to the first or second film of up-andcoming directors. / Open Seas (Out of Competition) – presents acclaimed films from many of the most talented and respected filmmakers of the world.   / WORLDdocs – aims to present the most interesting documentaries of the film industry each year.   / GREENdocs – presents films about various issues that are posing a threat to nature and humanity in one way or another. / MUSICdocs – draws attention to what is happening on the exciting boundaries of film and music. / Youth Program – dedicated to our young audience and provides film-oriented entertainment, education and experience. / Midnight Movies – sheds light on the dark corners of cinema, featuring low-budget films, b-films of all sorts and experimental and alternative works, often with cult status. / Icelandic Panorama – opens up the world of Icelandic filmmaking and showcases it to the outside world, thus building a bridge between Icelandic cinema and international filmmaking.   / Focus On – This special section offers insights into the film production of a certain country or number of countries. Last year it was Romania, this year it’s Germany. / Emerging master – This section offers insight into the oeuvre of a filmmaker just gaining considerable ground. / Honorary Retrospective – This section offers a rare opportunity to see the classic films directed by each year’s recipient of the RIFF Honorary Award glisten on the silver screen. Last year it was Béla Tarr. Who will it be in 2012?

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/ The Golden Puffin Each year the festival jury awards the Golden Puffin to one film from the New Visions category. / The FIPRESCI Award FIPRESCI is an International Federation of Film Critics. It has members in over 50 countries and presents awards at numerous film festivals around the globe. / RIFF Audience Award Festival guests vote for the film they like best. / RIFF Environmental Award Presented by a special jury. Films in the GREENdocs category are eligible. / The Church of Iceland Awards Presented by a special jury to a film that deals with existential questions in provoking and interesting way. Films in the New Visions category are eligible. / RIFF Golden Egg Award – To Encourage Young Talent Presented to an outstanding film made by a participant in the RIFF Transatlantic Talent Lab. / The Best Icelandic short award – In Memory of Thor Vilhjálmsson Presented to an Icelandic short film.

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/ OFF VENUES EVENTS RIFF enriches each edition of the festival with various film related events that take place outside the conventional screening room. Among the events organized for the 2011 edition were the following: / The RIFF Wünderland. The links between cinema and other art forms were explored in this surreal and experimental cabaret-style show. For two and a half hours, the audience got a chance to meet some of the most innovative avantgarde artists in Iceland. / International Workshop on Independent Filmmaking. RIFF organized a 3-day workshop dealing with independent cinema. The issues confronted included everything from how to prepare and produce your film to what to do after post-production. Among the lecturers were award winning Canadian animation artist Graeme Patterson, Finnish screenwriter Jan Forsström, Icelandic screenwriter, writer and musician Margrét Örnólfsdóttir and Canadian Peter Wintonick who is an internationally acclaimed, independent documentary maker and an advisor to the Reykjavik International Film Festival for several years. / Film concert: Skúli Sverrisson & Sóley. Skúli Sverrisson performed music to When it was blue by Jennifer Reeves (2008). The film is an ode to the diminishing unspoiled natural environments of the world. Sverrisson is an Icelandic guitar and bass player living in New York. Also appearing was Sóley, who performed music from her recent album, We Sink. / Swim-In. RIFF has always strived to find new ways to present the magic of movies in fresh and exciting contexts. The Swim-In is exactly that: this annual event is, well, in the water, and consistently packed with an enthusiastic audience and local and international media.

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/ Photo exhibitions. Among various off-venue events RIFF annually organizes a photo exhibition that reflects a certain theme represented in the festival programme. For example, in 2005 Iranian filmmaker Abbas Kiarostami presented his photos, in 2009 Canadian photographer Diana Shearwood presented an exhibition entitled Behind the Mall, calling attention to the industrialization of modern food, and in 2010 Greek photographer Nysos Vasilopolous set up an exhibition featuring pictures of urban isolation. Every year, RIFF organizes numerous seminars, masterclasses and Q&A sessions, featuring artists as well as industry professionals. This echoes the festival’s determination to support dialogue and also engage the audience in communication with the filmmakers and other personalities present at RIFF each year. / RIFF around town. During each year’s festival, the town’s centre vibrates with culture and energy brought by the presence of cinephiles, artists and press buzzing around town to reach the next film event. But it also buzzes with films: Whether you are getting your hair cut, playing a game of bowling or sipping on a cappuccino you could find yourself situated in one of Riff Around Town’s many unorthodox venues. / RIFF around Iceland. The art of cinema knows no boundaries, and neither does RIFF. Film enthusiasts can be found all around Iceland and therefore we launch RIFF around Iceland during every edition and screen a selection from the official programme in every quarter of the country. RIFF takes pride in being able to bring an example of what RIFF has to offer outside Reykjavik, and thus mix international cinema and our own scenery and small town charm to create an incomparable experience.

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The main objective of the festival’s Transatlantic Talent Lab is to serve as a meeting place for young filmmakers both from Europe and America. The ideal geographical location of Iceland makes for an ideal spot for the filmmakers of tomorrow to meet in the middle – halfway across the Atlantic Ocean – and gather for a few days to converse with each other and learn from established artists and professionals as well. The threefold motto of the festival – Innovation, Networking, Dialogue – is perfectly summed up in the activities of the Talent Lab: it highlights and promotes the innovative works of young filmmakers, facilitates the necessary industry networking they need to engage in to learn and to promote their works to buyers and distributors, and gives them an opportunity to participate in a dialogue with young people from across the Atlantic, exchange in ideas and thoughts. RIFF’s Talent Lab was held for the sixth time in 2011. Among last year’s lecturers were James Marsh, Lone Scherfig, Béla Tarr.

/ What the participants of RIFF TransAtlantic Talent Lab have to say:

“The Talent Lab was full of inspiring encounters, I met amazing people and went back home awesomely inspired!”

Zorana Musikic, Germany 2011

“I want to express my sincerest thanks to you for allowing me to participate in the RIFF Talent Lab. It was a fantastic experience. Everyone at the festival and at the hostel made me feel welcome”

Daniel Williams, USA 2011

“I had the privilege of being invited to the Talent Lab in Iceland this year, and just returned from what was an unforgettable trip. There are many of these “Labs” or “Campus” around nowadays, all inspired by the original Talent Campus hosted at the Berlinale. This version is more intimate which was great because I got to know pretty much all of the people who had come from around the world to do the workshop. We got to meet Academy Award winning director James Marsh, listen to a masterclass by art house icon Béla Tarr, and although it had nothing to do with film, I even got to meet the President of Iceland and the First Lady.”

Faisal Lutchmedial, Canada 2011

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“Thank you very much for an unforgettable week(end) with great, creative and inspiring people from all over the world! Thanks for this unique opportunity to learn, exchange and do some networking. I will definitely come back to the RIFF and to beautiful Iceland :o)!”

Katrine Eichberger, Austria 2010

“The Talent Laboratory of the Reykjavik International Film Festival was most inspiring and worthwhile for me. Especially I appreciated the great atmosphere among the participants, the interesting program and the chance to make contacts to people of the film industry. After having so many great new impulses coming out of this experience I wish there was a ‘future RIFF alumni talent lab’ right away next year I could attend!”

Katharina Ingwersen, Germany 2010

“RIFF Talent Lab is an amazing experience from many points of view... The master classes offer the opportunity to learn but also to interact with top professionals on the main aspects of film making; the working group of young but already operating international filmmakers gives the chance first of all to meet each other and networking, but also to know better the cinematic realities in other countries; the festival proposes a stimulating selection of movies. Last, but not least you are in such a wonderful island, so particular and beautiful that I will never forget it!!!”

Arianna Rossini, Italy 2010

“The days in Talent Lab just flew by. There was always someone interesting to talk to, a workshop to attend or a movie to watch. An intense, unforgettable experience.”

Christian Fischer, Germany 2010

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/ SPONSOR BENEFITS The festival offers its sponsors a wide range of benefits, from which we can tailor any combination to suit their branding objectives and budgets.

/ Corporate Logo Display

| Festival-produced pre-screening trailers which play prior to all screenings of the festival | Festival catalogue (A4) and Festival Program (A5) | Festival passes, discount cards and single screening tickets | Festival website, | Festival e-newsletters | Festival posters | Festival flags | Print ads in national and international publications | Banner-up displays at the festival theatres, hotel, industry office and video library. | Sponsoring of special off-venue events or screening of a certain film offers an exclusive branding visibility for the sponsor | Festival gift-bag front | Volunteers’ t-shirts | Outdoor giant displays, three locations in downtown Reykjavik |Daily screen-slide adverts in local television, run before the evening news.

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/ Sampling and introduction

| Theatre lobbies | Opening and closing ceremony | Parties | Festival gift-bag, presented to professional guests including filmmakers, actors, jury members and international media.

/ Private festival screening

RIFF’s sponsors can also have a private screening organized, with an optional reception or party for the guests before or after the screening. Numerous branding options are included, as well as sampling opportunities. RIFF will upon request consult the sponsor to find the most suitable film for each screening.

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RIFF at a glance  

If you would like to browse through our new booklet for the RIFF 2012 edition, please click the link and turn the pages:

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