Award winners at RIFF 2015!

Gyllti lundinn

The Golden Puffin to Iran for „Wednesday May 9.

It was the Iranian film “Wednesday May 9th.” (IRA) that won Discovery of the Year and received the Golden Puffin in tonight in RIFF’s Award Ceremony 2015 at Iðnó Theater in Reykjavík. The director of the movie, Vahid Jalilvand, gave an acceptance speech via video.  Twelve films competed in the category New Visions, all debut or sophomore efforts from directors.

The distinguished Fipresci award, from the International federation of film critics, active in fifty countries, was awarded to Krisha (USA) by director Trey Edward Shults.  Special mention in category got Sleeping Giant (CAN) by Andrew Cividino.

RIFF’s Environmental Award was presented for the sixth time to a film from our category A Different Tomorrow.  The winner this year was How to Change the World (CAN/GBR) by Jerry Rothwell.

The documentary Cartel Land (MEX/USA) by Matthew Heineman won the Audience award.  Audience voted on for their favorite film from the Documentaries category.

The Best Icelandic Short was chosen in co-operation with RÚV.  This year two shorts were joint winners, Heimildarminnd/Docyoumentory by Jón Ásgeir Karlsson and Regnbogapartý/Rainbow Party by Eva Sigurðardóttir.

The Golden Egg was awarded to a participant in RIFF’s Talent Lab.  The recipient this year was Canadian directors Harry Cherniak and Dusty Mancinelli for their project Winter Hymns.

Further information and jury’s statements:


Discovery of the year.


Iranian Film  Wednesday May 9 / Chaharshanbeh, 19 Ordibehesht by Vahid Jalilvand.

Jury’s statement:

The jury was really moved by the stories of three women in contemporary Teheran in Vahid Jalivand’s s first feature film Wednesday, May 9th.

Very strong acting and a beautifully woven structure – delivered a really strong film with many layers to be explored.

The jury in that category: Dagmar Forelle, Frederic Boyer, Paolo Corvino and Agnes Johansen.


International Federation of Film Critic’s Award.


Krisha by Trey Edward Shults (USA)

Jury’s statement:

Our prize-winner is an unusually resourceful feature debut characterized by a beguiling confluence of formal invention and thematic density. Its tension burgeons slowly and insistently as it draws us into a busy environment where everything feels utterly familiar, yet is simultaneously punctured with deep unease. The film is a portrait of the sort of painful, irresolvable fissure that afflicts many or perhaps most families, and yet it leaves us, ultimately, with a feeling of love and compassion for every one of its many characters. For all these reasons we, members of the FIPRESCI jury, award the International Critics Prize to Krisha, written and directed by Trey Edward Shults.

The jury: José Teodoro, Kira Taszman and Madelyn Most.


From category “Documentaries”, voted for on


Cartel Land by Matthew Heineman (MEX/USA)

The audience voted for their favorite film in category, “Documentaries” on


From category A Different Tomorrow


How to Change the World by Jerry Rothwell. (CAN/GBR)

Jury’s statement:

The jury came to the conclusion that the documentary that most deserved to win the awards in the “A different tomorrow” section would be a film connecting the past to a current and ongoing theme. This film is made with skill, dedication and thorough background research and archive material has been carefully selected and intertwined into the up to date parts of the film. It is engaging and firm and leaves the viewer focused for two hours combining a strong story line, content and visual material. It is our opinion that this film reveals new information on subject that many people believe they know much about, it reveals dilemmas and conflicts within a world known organization – with the filmmaker carefully maintaining an objective status. Every person in the film has their own voice, regardless of their different opinions. The jury gives the awards to the documentary “How to change the world” by Jerry Rothwell.

The jury was: Gísli Marteinn Baldursson, Rakel Garðarsdóttir and Hlín Jóhannesdóttir.



Heimildaminnd / Docyoumentory

by: Jón Ásgeir Karlsson

Jury’s statement:

The short utilizes a simple visual narrative and voice over from a child in a very clear way to tell a a bigger more dramatic story than the length of the short might indicate.  The build up af the short brought out strong emotions from the jury.



Regnbogapartý / Rainbow Party

by: Evu Sigurðardóttur

Jury’s statement:
Rainbow party draws a realistic cold picture of bullying amongst teenagers where cruelty and “shortsighted fun” affects a person’s life in a dramatic fashion. The short is made with care and tenderness on this complex topic.  The acting was excellent and leaves no viewer untouched.

The jury: Guðrún Helga Jónasdóttir, Reynir Lyngdal and Valdís Óskarsdóttir.



Winter Hymns (CAN) by Harry Cherniak and Dusty Mancinelli

Jury’s statement:

The film captures the audience from the very first frame. It tells the story of two brothers and their relationship in a very believable and sensitive way. It shows us the powerful and destructive inner struggle between wanting to prove oneself, being accepted and doing the right thing. Suspense is built up from the very beginning and danger is always imminent, lurking beneath the surface of scenes from everyday life. The cinematography is delicate and beautiful and together with the direction delivers the story directly to the audience. The two young actors grab hold of the viewer’s heart with their performances and don’t let go until they’ve left their mark on it. 

The jury was: Þórunn Erna Clausen, Jón Páll Eyjólfsson and María Reyndal.

RIFF 2016 will take place Sept. 29th. – Oct. 9th.

See you next year!