For those who are habitual film festivals goers, it must have been a nice and different experience to attend the festival’s opening ceremony – and so it was for us at Iceland Chronicles. Differently from ceremonies at other international films festivals, where often appearances are taken too much into account to the detriment of substance, the RIFF opening ceremony was quite cheerful and unsophisticated.
Host of the evening was renown Icelandic comedian Ari Eldjárn. Speeches were delivered both in Icelandic and in English by him and by the festival director, Hrönn Marinósdóttir. The film producer Þórir Snær Sigurjónsson also delivered a brief speech – but, unfortunately for foreigners, it was in Icelandic only.
It was then the turn of Reykjavík’s Mayor Jón Gnarr, who also addressed the audience first in Icelandic, and then in English. Gnarr, a popular comedian that took the stagnant political scene in Iceland by storm by winning the last municipal elections in the capital, was warmly applauded, stealing the public present tonight at the National Theater more than a few laughs with his charismatic presence. Here is his full English speech (sorry for the shaky camera).
Opening this year’s festival was the screening of the film Cyrus, bittersweet comedy made in the US by Mark and Jay Duplass. We’ll cover the film on these pages for you in the next days, so stay tuned!