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RIFF Opens Friday

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RIFF Opens Friday

The Together Project

From ‘The Together Project’ by Solveig Aspach. Photo: Screenshot from the film.

The 2016 Reykjavík International Film Festival (RIFF) will be held in Reykjavík, September 29-October 9.

The festival screens a wide range of dramas and non-fiction films from more than 40 countries. The goal of RIFF is to highlight independent filmmaking—especially the work of up-and-coming filmmakers—and to encourage interaction between genres with concerts and other events.

This year’s guests of honor will be Alejandro Jodorowsky, Darren Aronofsky, Chloë Sevigny and Deepa Mehta. A special focus will be placed on their work, including a screening of Sevigny’s short film, Kitty, which was the closing film at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival. Mehta will receive RIFF’s Honorary Award for Lifetime Achievement this year. The Indo-Canadian Mehta is one of the most respected screenwriters, directors and producers of our time. Alongside the screening of three of her films at the festival, she will give a master class at the Nordic House where she discusses her work as a director and the methods she uses in her work.

In the New Visions category, 11 young directors will compete for the festival’s main award, the Golden Puffin. Their films are considered to defy the accepted values of filmmaking and pave a new path for the industry. These are: All the Beauty (NOR) by Aasne Vaa Greibrokk, which will have a world premiere at RIFF; Wùlu (FRA/SEN) by Daouda Coulibaly, which will have a European premiere; Park (GRE/POL) by Sofia Exarchou; Worldly Girl (ITA/FRA) by Marco Danieli; Oscuro Animal (COL/ARG/NED/GER/GRE) by Felipe Guerrero; Godless (BUL/DEN/FRA) by Ralitza Petrova; Zoology (RUS/FRA/GER) by Ivan I. Tverdovsky; Personal Affairs (ISR) by Maha Haj; The Giant (SWE/DEN) by Johannes Nyholm; Still Life (FRA) by Maud Alpiand; and Quit Staring at My Plate (CRO/DEN) by Hana Jusic.

A total of 18 Icelandic short films will be screened at RIFF this year, covering everything from friendship, parenthood and life without technology, to Icelandic snow boarders and réttir, an Icelandic tradition of sheep gathering in autumn. As part of the category Icelandic Panorama, nine new Icelandic or Iceland-related feature films will also be premiered, along with a number of documentaries. The festival’s opening film will be The Together Project (Sundáhrifin/L’Effet Aquatique) by director Sólveig Anspach, who died of cancer in 2015. The Together Project premiered at Cannes 2016, winning the SACD award as the Best French-Language Film in the Director’s Fortnight category.

Open Seas is a category at RIFF for new, acclaimed films that have recently been getting attention at film festivals all over the world. This year the category includes some influential documentaries, such as Fire at Sea by the Italian director Gianfranco Rosi, which won the Golden Bear at Berlinale last spring. The War Show by Danans Andreasar Dalsgaard and Obaidah Zytoon was the opening film at Venice Days, and it will be screened at Toronto International Film Festival this month as well.

For more information about RIFF, go to riff.is.

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