The Haapsalu Horror & Fantasy Film Festival is an independent festival focusing of screening best films from the darker side of cinema from fantasy to horror, forgotten classics, filmmaker and country retrospectives, extreme films and celebrated guests in the unique setting of Estonia, a small country in northern Europe between Sweden, Finland and Russia. The festival takes place on late April usually coinciding with full moon.
The mission of HOFF is to present to the audiences of Estonia and the neighboring countries horror, fantasy, sci- fi and cult films from the world’s cinematic heritage with a geographically diverse and contemporary program.
In 9 years HOFF has developed into a small, but internationally highly appreciated festival in the the Nordic area. The festival is organized by the Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival (www.poff.ee), one of the largest art house festivals in the region together with Haapsalu Culture Center and the City of Haapsalu. Part of the festival’s unique atmosphere is derived from it’s location – an ex Soviet culture center with two cinema halls renovated in 2010 to it’s full crystal glory.
Festival program is divided into two sections. The main section will feature new fantasy and horror films, not older than two years with a focus on a theme or a genre. The second part of HOFF however is targeted for audiences with strongest wits and guts – introducing the most extreme and obscure films ever made, such as “Guinea Pig”and “Serbian Film” or cult classics like “Salo: 120 days of Sodom” and “Cannibal Holocaust”.
During the years HOFF has attracted several recognized filmmakers and guests including Brian Yuzna (Reanimator), Magnus Paulsson (Frostbite), producer Gregory Rossi (Il Busco Fuori), Polish cult director Marek Piestrak (Navigator Pirx), festival programmers Tuomas Riskala, Liisa Lehmusto, Mikko Aromaa and many others.
Also, HOFF works together with Todd Brown from Canada, the founder and chief editor of Twitch - one of the most known genre blogs that is out there and who is also a badass producer and programmer. His golden taste and knowledge has been genuinely good – some of the films at our program are straight from Sundance or freshly screened in the world.
Additionally HOFF is increasingly featuring premieres, such as the international premiere of british gothic horror “Splintered”, later on European premieres for hits like “Beyond the Black Rainbow”, “Agression Scale”, “Henge” or “VHS”.
In 2012, HOFF became a part of the European Fantastic Festivals Federation Melies and is proud to be the only one in the Baltics. With some 20 festivals represented, on the European continent as well as in Asia and North-America, and a joint audience of approximately 600.000 spectators, the European Fantastic Film Festivals Federation has become one of the most powerful tools to promote the originality and creativity of the European fantasy film industry. Being a new member, HOFF now hosts an international short film competition program to give out the Melies d'Argent award that thus will be automatically nominated for the best genre short film of the year, for what the Melies d'Or prize, will be given out in Sitges Fantastic Festival. More about Melies Ass. http://www.melies.org/
Haapsalu (www.haapsalu.ee), once a renown summer retreat of the Russian Czars, now a picturesque town, a celebrated spa, and the home of infamous Baltic ghost – the White Lady, is crowded during the festival by film buffs and professionals alike looking for both fantasy and extreme. In addition, Haapsalu is world famous for its healing mud – highly praised unique spa treatment that has made many of the festival’s guests and audience truly refreshed and the city world famous. Hence, Haapsalu, through its developed leisure, spa and conference facilities has proven to be an attractive meeting point for film professionals as well – for enjoying films, world class cuisine, excellent spas and business arrangements.