Estonian film Bad Hair crowned best short film at Haapsalu Horror and Fantasy Film Festival

Estonian film Bad Hair crowned best short film at Haapsalu Horror and Fantasy Film Festival

Bad Hair became the first Estonian film to win the short film competition of the Haapsalu Horror and Fantasy Film Festival (HÕFF) at the festival's closing ceremony this Sunday. The festival’s audience award went to the Japanese zombie comedy One Cut of the Dead.

Bad Hair, directed by Oskar Lehemaa, was awarded the Silver Méliès (Méliès d’Argent) which 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 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”.

Bad Hair, Oskar Lehemaa’s first independent film was produced by Evelin Penttilä at Stellar Film, a production that lasted over five years. It was originally pitched as part of the Baltic Pitching Forum in 2014 - an event co-organised by PÖFF Shorts (the sub-festival of Black Nights Film Festival) alongside Lithuanian Shorts, ShortEst, 2Annas and Riga Int'l Film Festival where it won the opportunity to represent the Baltics at Euro Connections - Clermont-Ferrand Film Festival’s co-production market. The film also received crowdfunding in Indiegogo.

Crew members include actor Sten Karpov, DOP Ivar Taim, who won the Best Cinematography award in 2018 at the Black Nights Film Festival for his work on The Manslayer / The Virgin / The Shadow, production designer Triin Valvas, make-up designer Liisi Roht, editor Sander Somma and composer Paul Oja.

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.

The 14th Haapsalu Horror and Fantasy Film Festival, the biggest genre film festival in the Baltics, ran from the 25th until the 28th of April. The festival is organised by the team at the Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival.

Film still: Bad Hair
Film still: Strawberry Eaters
Photo by Markus SeinOskar Lehemaa accepting the award
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