The awards of the 14th Haapsalu Horror and Fantasy Film Festival
The 14th Haapsalu Horror and Fantasy Film Festival concluded last Sunday with BAD HAIR and Estonian short body horror film directed by Oskar Lehemaa receiving the Silver Méliès (Méliès d’Argent) award in the festival’s only competition programme – the Méliès Short Film Competition. This grants the film the opportunity to compete for the Golden Méliès at the annual gala of the European Fantastic Film Festivals Federation, of which HÕFF has been a member since 2013.
The 14-minute short film, Estonia’s first entry in the body horror genre deals with the topic of hair loss, as the protagonist Leo orders a mysterious hair-growth serum that has undesired effects on his body.
The jury, consisting of Daniel Cohen, the artistic director of the Strasbourg European Fantastic Film Festival, film critic Marta Balaga and Estonian film director Urmas E. Liiv awarded the filmmakers “for making the only film in the world that makes you truly happy to be bald”.
The jury also gave nods to another Estonian film, the animation STRAWBERRY EATERS by Mattias Mälk and OSCAR’S BELL by Chris Cronin (UK). The eight films in the competition were selected from among 150 submitted works.
The biggest jury of the festival – the audience – favored the Japanese zombie comedy ONE CUT OF THE DEAD (directed by Shinichiro Ueda) with the US supernatural thriller Freaks (directed by Zach Lipovsky and Adam Stein) close on its tail.
One Cut of the Dead
LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARDS
The first of the two lifetime achievement awards went to Estonian production designer and set decorator PRIIT VAHER who worked in the Tallinnfilm studio from 1970 until 1992 on the production of over 30 films. His most well-known works a production designer include Estonian classics such as Ideal Landscape, Arabella Pirate’s Daugher and The Curse of Snakes Valley the smashing hit of the east block, the Soviet version of Indian Jones.
The second filmmaker to be honored was VLADIMIR TARASOV, a Russian animator and animation director who is best known for his Soviet-era sci-fi short films like The Pass, Contract and Contact – the Yellow Submarine-inspired psychedelic journey that brought him several awards at international festivals and is generally considered his calling card as a filmmaker.
Tarasov has also been active in promoting the discipline of animation, having worked in the union’s biggest animation studio Soyuzmultfilm first as an animator, then as an art director and finally, from 1970 until 1991 as its director. He was also an organiser and founder of the film schools Zee Institute of Creative Art in India and Tarbiat Modares University in Iran.
HÕFF screened five of the director’s films: Cowboys in the City (1973), Contact (1978), The Return (1980), Button (1982), The Pass (1988).