Icelandic filmmaker Erlingur Óttar Thoroddsen is picking up some major awards at North American film festivals with his latest movie, Rift (Rökkur).
The psychological thriller, which is set in Iceland and centres around a gay relationship, won the award for Best Cinematography at the California Independent Film Festival this month.
“Rift was an unusual movie in a lot of ways, one of which was that we had an extremely small crew. Our entire camera department was just two people,” says Erlingur. “So it’s very gratifying to see them acknowledged like that.”
“For every festival there is a different audience, and they often have different expectations based on what the festival usually programs. It’s been really fun and exciting to see how people react in different places.”
Erlingur says Rift is also unique in that it falls in a number of niche categories, such as being a queer film, a horror film and a mystery film. Before being screened at the California Independent Film Festival, the movie was also screened at a horror film festival in Portugal and at Outfest, an LGBTQ film festival in Los Angeles.
“For every festival there is a different audience, and they often have different expectations based on what the festival usually programs,” he says. “It’s been really fun and exciting to see how people react in different places.”
Rift was also well-received at Outfest, where it won the award for Artistic Achievement. “I think people were really excited about how unconventional the film was in many ways, and also about the setting it takes place in,” says Erlingur.
“It’s been a dream of mine to go there for years. So I’m feeling particularly giddy about it.”
The next stop for Rift is Austin, Texas, where the film will be screened during the opening night at Fantastic Fest, the biggest genre festival in the United States.
“It’s been a dream of mine to go there for years,” says Erlingur. “So I’m feeling particularly giddy about it.”