Estonia’s Haapsalu Horror and Fantasy Film Festival takes place online this year

The 15th edition of the Haapsalu Horror and Fantasy Film Festival (HÕFF) will take place completely online this year; the festival that has, in normal times, run in the small resort town of Haapsalu, west coast of Estonia, is screening 22 feature films and 16 short films online from 8-10 May.

The organisers of the festival said they managed to keep the screenings of a large majority of the films that were planned before the COVID-19 pandemic crisis.

“Besides screening as much as possible of the originally planned programme, we are putting a lot of effort to convey the festival’s cool atmosphere online, organising a virtual opening ceremony, a virtual parade with a costume competition, Q&A’s, the Méliés short film competition screenings with an international jury and even the very first industry panel of the festival with an exciting bunch of international speakers,” Helmut Jänes, the head of the festival, said in a statement.

A special Estonian genre competition launched

The festival also launches a new programme – the Estonian Genre Competition. The inaugural edition will feature six films produced or co-produced by Estonian production companies competing for the Best Estonian Genre Film Award. The jury of the competition consists of the high school students of Lääne County High School in Haapsalu.

The main programme of the festival consists of seven films: “Come to Daddy” (directed by Ant Timpson), “Swallow” (Carlo Mirabella-Davis), “The Faceless Man” (James Di Martino), “Stranger” (Dmytro Tomashpolskyi), “Midsommar” (Ari Aster), “The Mortuary Collection” (Ryan Spindell) and “Wretched” (Brett Pierce and Drew T. Pierce).

A screenshot from “Stranger” (Dmytro Tomashpolskyi).

The festival will also celebrate the 130th birth anniversary of the influential American sci-fi and horror writer, Howard Phillips Lovecraft, screening three movies based on his books, including the latest release, “Color Out of Space” (Richard Stanley). 

In addition, there are two short film programmes.

See the full schedule on the festival’s website.

Cover: A screenshot from “Swallow” (Carlo Mirabella-Davis).

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