Guests attending the ninth edition of RIFF include Dario Argento, Susanne Bier and Marjane Satrapi.

The Reykjavík International Film Festival (RIFF) opens tonight (September 27) with a screening of Sólveig Anspach’s Queen Of Montreuil in the Icelandic capital’s Harpa Music Hall.

Running for 11 days until October 7, guests attending the ninth edition of RIFF include Dario Argento, Susanne Bier and Marjane Satrapi.

RIFF’s competitive New Visions sections is dedicated to progressive first and second works such as The Interval by Leonardo di Costanzo and Eat Sleep Die by Gabriela Pichler, while the festival’s Open Seas strand focuses on successful films from the festival circuit including Lore by Cate Shortland and Everybody In Our Family by Radu Jude.

On the documentary front, A Different Tomorrow foregrounds environmental concerns with films like Jeff Orlowski’s Chasing Ice, while the general Documentaries section is arranged by topics ranging from ‘digital’ (Indie Game: The Movie, Five Star Existence) to ‘world’ (China Heavyweight, Italy: Love It Or Leave It) to ‘music’ (Freddie Mercury: The Great Pretender, Searching For Sugar Man) and ‘art’ (Marina Abramovic: The Artist Is Present).

German film-making is given special prominence this year with a screening of Metropolis with music performed live by Damo Suzuki, former singer of the legendary psychedelic rock group Can, and an exhibition of photography by Ulrike Ottinger, whose latest film Under Snow is also playing. Christian Petzold’s Barbara – Germany’s foreign language Oscar submission – will screen and newcomer Pola Schirin Beck has her world premiere of Breaking Horizons at Reykjavik.

The festival’s Icelandic Panorama is a selection of new Icelandic shorts, documentaries and features.

Susanne Bier receives RIFF’s Creative Excellence Award and will attend a screening of Love Is All You Need. Dario Argento is awarded for his lifetime achievement and attends Q&A screenings of Suspiria, Inferno and Dracula 3D while also giving an open masterclass. The festival’s Emerging Master this year is Marjane Satrapi, who attends screenings of Persepolis and Chicken With Plums and talks about her work alongside her editor Stéphane Roche.

Leading the RIFF jury this year is Geoffrey Gilmore, the director of Tribeca Enterprises and former director of the Sundance Film Festival. He is joined by Cedomir Kolar, producer of No Man’s Land and Erna Kettler, acquisitions manager from Icelandic National Television.

Founded in 2004, RIFF is Iceland’s major annual film event. Acclaimed Icelandic filmmakers Fridrik Thor Fridriksson (whose credits include Children Of Nature, which was nominated for Best Foreign Language Film at the Oscars in 1992), Valdis Oskarsdottir (a best editing BAFTA winner for Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind) and Baltasar Kormákur (Little Trip To Heaven, Jar City, Contraband) are members of RIFF’s festival committee.

The films in competition for the Golden Puffin in New Visions at RIFF 2012 are:

90 Minutes (Norway)

Dir: Eva Sørhaug

Eat Sleep Die (Sweden)

Dir: Gabriela Pichler

The Interval (Italy, Switzerland, Germany)

Dir: Leonardo di Costanzo

Broken (UK)

Dir: Rufus Norris

The Shine Of Day (Austria)

Dir: Tizza Covi, Rainer Frimmel

Mobile Home(Belgium, Luxembourg, France)

Dir: François Pirot

Moon Man (France, Germany, Ireland)

Dir: Stephan Schesch

Mold (Turkey)

Dir: Ali Aydın

God’s Neighbours (Israel, France)

Dir: Meni Yaesh

Sofia’s Last Ambulance (Croatia, Bulgaria, Germany)

Dir: Ilian Metev


Beasts Of The Southern Wild (US)

Dir: Benh Zeitlin


Starlet (US)
Dir: Sean Baker

The films are also eligible for the FIPRESCI prize and the Church of Iceland Award. Last year’s Golden Puffin recipient was Angelina Nikonova from Russia for Twilight Portrait.