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Haapsalu Horror and Fantasy Film Festival


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The Haapsalu Horror & Fantasy Film Festival (HÕFF) is an independent genre film festival focusing on screening best films from fantasy to horror, forgotten classics, retrospectives and extreme films in the quaint seaside town of Haapsalu, Estonia.


Rare Yakutian Horror at HÕFF 2018

Still from "Evil Spirit" (dir. Stepan Burnashev, Jevgeni Ossipov)

The Sakha Republic or Yakutia isn't famous only for its biting colds, diamonds or mammoth bones. In recent years we've been hearing more and more about the films emerging from their local film industry, the exotic Sakhawood. One of those special films will be screened at the 13th Haapsalu Horror and Fantasy Film Festival.

"Evil Spirit" (Хара дьай) is a horror film based on local Yakutian folklore. It is threaded together from four short stories that take place on the magical day in Yakutia known as "tankha" or the time of listening. During tankha, one can predict their future through different omens. Unfortunately for the characters, it's also a time when borders between the realm of men and spirits wears thin. The micro-budget film is directed by self-taught directors Jevgeni Ossipov and Stepan Burnashev, known as the "Tarantino of Yakutia".

Part of the Russian Federation with a population below million and only half of them Yakuts, the Sakha Republic produces around 20 yakut language films in a year. They are mostly distributed locally where yakutian language films are in high demand. The most successful piece of Yakutian cinema is considered to be a film about local village life that was made with a budget of 10 000 roubles (around 142 euros), earning back 150 000 roubles (2142 euros).
The rest of the world is catching up, too: in 2016 the Berlin film festival screened three Yakutian films in its "NATIVe" programme and in 2017 Busan International Film Festival (BIFF) screened a 12-film Yakutian special called “Sakha Cinema: World of Magical Nature and Myth”.
"Evil Spirit" has garnered accolades at the Anapa film festival Kinoshock for best music and innovation.

Trailer for "Evil Spirit":

Austrian director Lukas Feigelfeld's debut feature "Hagazussa" takes the viewer to the dark ages where the inquisition is in process. The film tries to induce a state of hypnotic trance, blurring lines between the real world and fantasy. One of the scariest and most effective film of pagan world view in recent years.

„Hagazussa” trailer:

If you're looking for something shocking from the main programme, look no further than "KFC" that premiered last year at Rotterdam. The 28 year old Vietnamese director LÊ Bình Giang's debut falls into the urban horror genre that is a must see for all asian genre lovers as well as anyone who wants to test their limits. It's an agonisingly cruel, but honest look at the world today that has been likened to a torture chamber where only the strongest survive.

The 13th Haapsalu Horror and Fantasy Film Festival takes place from April 27-29. The whole programme will be released on April 6. Early bird passes are on sale now until March 31st at Piletilevi.

About Haapsalu Horror and Fantasy Film Festival

SEPP Heinrich


  • Maria Reinup
  • Anne Vetik
  • Martin Ruus
  • Helmut Jänes
  • Mihkel Riis
  • Ra Ragnar Novod
  • Henryk Johan Novod
  • Dagmar Raudam
  • Heinrich Sepp
  • Hannes Aava




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