Iceland’s festival welcomed 200 industry guests; new venue Bio Paradis unveiled.

Michelangelo Frammartino’s Le Quattro Volte, the Cannes Directors Fortnight hit, won the Golden Puffin Award (for first or second features) at the Reykjavik International Film Festival, which wrapped its seventh edition today in the Icelandic capital.

The film, about an elderly Italian goat herder, also won the festival’s Fipresci prize.

The RIFF international jury said of the film: “Beautifully conceived and shot, the film provokes thought without a single line of dialogue, and with unexpected humor.”

The audience award went to Mike Ott’s Littlerock, the Church of Iceland award went to Marian Crisan’s Tomorrow (Morgen) with a special mention to Marcin Wrona’s The Christening. The Environmental Award was given to Sylvie Van Brabant’s Earth Keepers. The encouragement award, or Golden Egg, tied to the Transatlantic Talent Laboratory, was given to Sakaris Fridi Stora for Faroe Islands-set The Passenger.

The festival’s closing night film on Saturday night was the world premiere of Brim, by Icelandic filmmaker Arni Olafur Asgeirsson, a graduate of the Polish National Film School. Icelandic production company Zik Zak produced, in collaboration with lauded theatre company Vesturport; the drama is about a group of people working on a fishing trawler whose lives are impacted by a death on board the ship. Brim’s ensemble cast includes Ingvar E. Sigurdsson, Nína Dögg Filipusdóttir, Gísli Örn Garðarsson, Ólafur Egill Egilsson, Björn Hlynur Haraldsson, Ólafur Darri Ólafsson, Víkingur Kristjánsson, and Nanna Kristín Magnúsdóttir. The film was widely praised by local and visiting audience members as an especially strong closing selection.

Festival director Hronn Marinosdottir noted that even thought the festival budget was on par to recent years, this year’s RIFF offered an unprecedented number of industry events and masterclasses. It also welcomed its biggest audiences, reaching 25,000 — or 8% of Iceland’s small population. That figure is a 10% increase on 2009.

About 140 films were screened in all.

RIFF benefited from the recent launch of the new Bio Paradis cinema in downtown Reykjavik, formerly the Regnboginn (Rainbow), which has been recently taken over with backing from two the Icelandic Filmmakers Union, the Icelandic Directors Union and the Icelandic Producers Union, the Icelandic Film Centre, The Cinephiles Society, the City of Reykjavik and RIFF. Local industry veteran Asgrimur Sverrisson programmes the multi-screen venue which will showcase local, arthouse and repertory titles year-round (

Jim Jarmusch, who was presented with the Creative Excellence Award, Jarmusch said of Iceland: “this is really a very magical place” with artists who were “particular and unusual and incredibly inspiring.”

Other directors in attendance included Athina Rachel Tsangari (Attenberg), Kitau Sakurai (Aardvark), Janus Metz (Armadillo), Amir Bar-Lev (The Tillman Story), and Benedek Fliegauf (Womb) plus local filmmakers including Dagur Kari Fridrik Thor Fridriksson (the latter two are on RIFF’s board).

The festival in total welcomed about 200 industry guests from 22 countries, including David Kwok of Tribeca, Gabrielle Rozing of Fortissimo, Karl Och of Karlovy Vary, Philippe Bober of Coproduction Office, Lorianne Hall of Scanbox, Philipp Hoffmann of The Match Factory and Laird Adamson of Magnolia Pictures.

Cameron Bailey, co-director of the Toronto International Film Festival, was on this year’s international jury at RIFF. He praised the festival’s “extraordinary hospitality” and joked that he’d had a warm welcome from everyone from “the President of Iceland to that guy who sells hotdogs by the port.”

RIFF has set next year’s dates for Sept 22-Oct 2, 2011.