HÕFF's festive kick-off focuses on Finnish mythology

    The Haapsalu Horror & Fantasy Film Festival will open its doors for the 18th time to bring glamour, fantasy as well as a bit of horror to the springtime resort town.

    On Friday, 28 April, at 7:30 p.m., the festival receives a turbulent kick-off by Winny Puhh, the weirdest punk band in Estonia and probably also the world. They will give a special out-of-this-world performance together with the Haapsalu Children's Choir. The ceremony will be followed by the opening film, the Finnish adventure fantasy Sampo, completed in 1959, which has now been restored and has acquired cult status. The fairy tale film about the epic struggle between good and evil is suitable for the whole family. The film's female lead, Eve Kivi, will welcome the festival audience as a special guest. Before the event, everyone has a chance to be photographed on the blood-red carpet. The Finnish hero Väinämöinen has also promised to make an appearance in front of the paparazzi. To capture the festive moment with ease, we ask that you arrive at the Haapsalu Culture Center by 6:45 p.m. at the latest.

    NB! Dress code: inspired by the mythology of Kalevala or Kalevipoeg.

    About the film: The Lady of the North, Louhi, captures Annikki, the Kalevala blacksmith Ilmarine's sister, with sorcery and promises to release her only if the blacksmith forges Sampo – a miracle mill that grinds wealth. And thus begins an epic battle between good and evil, light and dark. Tolkien was not the only one fascinated by Sampo, Kullervo and Väinämöinen – in fact, the whole Kalevala. Both the Americans and the Russians wanted to make it into a film, not to mention the Finns – in 1959 it finally happened in cooperation with Finland and the USSR. The result was truly spectacular for its time – the fairy tale film with a gigantic budget of billion Finnish markkas was shot in one-and-a-half years separately in Finnish and Russian and both as a regular and a wide-screen version. Although Finnish criticism blamed it for many things – mostly for its lack of authenticity – the film spread all over the world, most curiously also in America: cut down by 20 minutes, it was titled The Day the Earth Froze, with the tagline “The most chilling terror ever experienced!” More than half a century later, our Finnish neighbours call it a cult film. For Estonians, this film is especially important because of Eve Kivi – for Kivi, who plays Annikki, it was the first major international role. “Kivi or no one else! I need her innocent eyes,” blasted director Aleksandr Ptushko before filming began, when it was suggested that another, better-known actor take her place. In any case, the cover of the 1959 December issue of Soviet Screen, a major film magazine, was decorated for the first time with the portrait of Eve Kivi, and the rest is history. The Haapsalu screening will showcase a restored version of the film, and we recommend coming with the whole family – there is a lot to smile about. Thanks to: Finnish Institute in Estonia, KAVI

    HÕFF takes place during 28.-30. April. Tickets and accreditation can be found at https://hoff.ee/en/about/tickets-and-passes/

    More information: https://hoff.ee/en/