The Strasbourg European Fantastic Film Festival was founded by Les Films du Spectre in 2006 as a thematic festival.
The Strasbourg European Fantastic Film Festival (SEFFF) (French: Festival Européen du Film Fantastique de Strasbourg – FEFFS), is an annual film festival held in Strasbourg, France, that focus on fantasy, science fiction and horror films. The festival takes place annually in September since 2008, it derives from the Spectre Film Festival that was created in 2005 by the organization Les Films du Spectre.
Notable past guests of the festival include Tobe Hooper, Lamberto Bava, Catherine Breillat, Marina De Van, Ruggero Deodato, Lucky McKee, Agnès Merlet, Caroline Munro, Philippe Nahon, Brian Yuzna, Roger Corman, Mick Garris and George A. Romero.
Subsidised by French regional and local authorities and with a 7-fold increase in visitors since its launch, it now holds Méliès competitions for both European feature and short fantastic films.
The best international fantastic film is awarded the Golden Octopus. Short films can also screen in the “Made in France” section catering to French productions or in the international short film section. Other feature film sections include: “Crossovers”, for borderline not-quite-fantastic films; “Midnight Extremes”, for more disturbing films; and world fantastic films outside competition.
The festival is strongly committed to cinema heritage; and past revivals have showcased Hammer Studios, Ray Harryhausen, James Whale, Roger Corman, Italian 1960s pop and Val Lewton, to name but a few.
The Strasbourg Festival is a multi-faceted event: screening the latest in European and world genre cinema (horror, SF, fantasy), it also proposes Q and A with film crews, silent film concerts and many side attractions. There are conferences, master classes for students, exhibitions, forums, vintage poster auctions, workshops, the Fantastic Village and the Great Strasbourg Zombie Walk – one of the largest in Europe – followed by the annual Zombies’ ball. The Strasbourg European Fantastic Film Festival is held in a mind-bogglingly beautiful city on the Ill River – home to the European institutions and medieval Gothic wonders.
Hammer Film Festival
In 2006, the organization Les Films du Spectre decided to organize the Hammer Film Festival which revolved around the work of the British film production company Hammer Film Productions. For this occasion the cinemas STAR in Strasbourg screened some of Hammer original 35mm prints such as The Curse of Frankenstein, Brides of Dracula, The Gorgon, The Reptile, Dracula, Quatermass and the Pit and The Mummy. Furthermore Hammer screenwriter Jimmy Sangster was invited to present some of the movies.
Spectre Film Festival
With the Hammer Film Festival being a success the organization decided to renew the experience in 2007 with the Spectre Film Festival. This time around the festival focused on science fiction films from the 1950s to the 1980s with the screening of space operas, Japanese science fiction films, Jack Arnold’s movies and Social science fiction features. Moreover some of the screenings were available in 3D such as the Creature from the Black Lagoon.
The festival program included features like Forbidden planet, Plan 9 from Outer Space, Starcrash, Planet of the Apes, Invasion of Astro-Monster and The War in Space. More guests were invited during this edition with the presence of François Schuiten, Benoît Peeters, Luigi Cozzi, Jean Pierre Berthome and Jean Alessandrini.
Creation of the Strasbourg European Fantastic Film Festival
In 2008 the festival joined the European Fantastic Film Festivals Federation (EFFFF) as an adherent member and changed its name to Strasbourg European Fantastic Film Festival. In addition to its usual screenings the festival added two competitions, respectively between European short films and European feature films. The SEFFF invited Lamberto Bava, Caroline Munro, Philippe Nahon and Jean-François Rauger to become the festival’s first jury. Finally during this edition the festival paid tribute to the work of Ray Harryhausen through multiple screenings.
In 2009 the festival kept a similar format to the previous year. During this edition the jury was composed of Ruggero Deodato, Jean-Jacques Bernard, Marina de Van and its president Roger Corman. Moreover for this second edition the SEFFF organized a retrospective of George Frangu work and celebrated the 20th anniversary of Ridley Scott’s Alien.
Affiliation with the European Fantastic Film Festivals Federation
In 2010 the SEFFF moved up to affiliated membership in the European Fantastic Film Festivals Federation enabling them to hold a Méliès d’Argent competition. This award nominate a feature film and a short film to the Méliès d’or competition that is held during Sitges Film Festival. This year jury was made of Brian Yuzna, Manlio Gomarasca, Axelle Carolyn and Alexandre O. Philippe. The theme of this third edition revolved around Val Lewton work, the Italian pop cinema of the 1960s and the 30th anniversary of Star Wars Episode 2. The movie Buried which won Strasbourg’s first Méliès d’Argent went on winning this year Méliès d’or.
The fourth edition of the festival was marked by the presence of George A. Romero as the president of this year’s jury. Romero’s work as well as Tod Browning’s and Edgar Wallace’s were celebrated during the festival with the screenings of their major features. Furthermore Ben Templesmith and Jean-Baptiste Thoret joined Romero to form the jury and directors such as Lucky McKee, Keith Wright and Matti Bye were invited as special guests.
In 2012 the festival kept on growing with an even greater number of days, screenings and guests. This year theme was Post-apocalypse world as well as Michael Powell’s and Emeric Pressburger’s work. The jury was composed of Mick Garris, Pierre Bordage, Alan Jones and Agnès Merlet (the 2011 Méliès d’Argent winner).
Moreover many film crews were invited such as Colin Trevorrow, Johannes Roberts, Juan Carlos Medina, Zack Parker, Alexandre O. Philippe, Boris Rodriguez, Robin Entreinger, Justin Benson, Aaron S. Moorhead, Juan Martinez Moreno and Ryan Andrews.
In 2013, the festival’s size increased once again, with the addition of more special screenings, more crossovers movies, a new documentaries section, etc… Furthermore during this 6th edition, the festival managed to get one international premiere, three European premieres (Proxy of Zach Parker, All Cheerleaders Die of Lucky McKee and Machete Kills of Robert Rodriguez) and numerous French premieres. This year’s retrospective revolved around King Kong and El Santo. The feature films’ jury was composed of Lucky McKee (2011 Golden Octopus winner) as president, Travis Stevens, Carlos Areces, Julien Gester and Tomas Lemarquis.
Other notable guests included Xan Cassavetes, Marina de Van, Sianoa Smit-McPhee, Anna Mouglalis, Zach Parker and Bobby Boermans.
A new independent video game contest, called Indium Game Contest, was also held during the 2013 SEFFF.
For the seventh edition Tobe Hooper presided over the SEFFF jury on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Other members of the feature film jury were Juan Martinez Moreno and Xavier Palud.As usual a part of the festival was devoted to past movies with a first retrospective on the theme of “Sympathy for the Devil” and second one focusing on Tobe Hooper’s work.
This edition’s notable guests were Ana Lily Amirpour, Leigh Janiak, Till Kleinert, Pau Esteve Birba, Xavier Palud, Fabrice du Welz, Steve Oram and Helena Noguerra.
Other events included an outdoor screening of Ghostbusters which was held in front of 2000 people at the foot of the Strasbourg Cathedral for the 30th anniversary of the movie, a silent film concert of Faust, a master class held by Tobe Hooper, etc…
The Indium Game Contest came back for a second edition during this seventh edition of SEFFF with a selection of 18 independent video games
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