Reykjavik International Film Festival (RIFF) was founded in 2004 by a group of film enthusiasts and professionals with the goal of creating an annual international film festival in Reykjavik. The aim was to establish a major film event to enrich and enliven the local film culture, but moreover, to become an international attraction.
RIFF’s program is extensive. Emphasis is placed on new cinema, and RIFF sees itself as a starting point for films soon to take the festival circuit by storm. The competitive category is exclusive to directors’ first or second features. Also each year an honorary award is given to outstanding directors and a retrospective of their works is put on. The Reykjavik International Film Festival's program includes:
Open Sea- The best festival and arthouse films of the past year or so are brought together in a single goodie bag. All hits – no misses.
New Visions- a competitive category, exclusive to directors’ first or second features. Films compete for the title ‘Discovery of the Year’ and are awarded The Golden Puffin.
Three by Three- Three acclaimed but little known directors are given the front stage in this section.
Icelandic Panorama- International guests are given an opportunity to see quality Icelandic productions
Horizon- A single nation whose cinema has rippled the waves lately, is spotlighted.
Midnight Movies- A number of B-film/horror/cult double feature nights set in one of Reykjavík’s oldest cinema.
In 2008 the special events at RIFF were a huge success. Sound on Sight was a unique project where people were able to focus on the special bond and connection between music and film. A project called Minus 25 was uniquely designed for people under the age of 25 and included many mini-projects. A short film competition for young students was held and even Iceland's kindergartens were able to participate in their own little project where kids made short films from digital photographs. A talent campus was held where young people from Europe and America were invited to meet in Reykjavik and see what the film industry had to offer on the other side of the globe! This is only a fraction of the special events RIFF had to offer in 2008.
In 2009, one of the biggest events at the festival was the visit of 2009's honorary guest - Milos Forman. Apart from Forman, many international guests came to Reykjavík for the 2009 edition; directors, press and other guests.
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