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Fantastic Fest Shorts Preview: Fredrik S. Hana’s Seaside Scare, “AUTUMN HARVEST”

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The winner of Fantastic Fest’s 2013 Short Fuse Program, Norwegian filmmaker Fredrik S. Hana returns to Austin this year with for the World Premiere of his atmospheric seaside tale AUTUMN HARVEST. His latest is a change of setting—the winning ANGST, PISS AND DRID was a squalid, interior work of human horror, while AUTUMN HARVEST is more ethereal and nature-based—but maybe not pace. Hana is clearly focused on sensory cinema, and like several of the 2014 short films (of which FANGORIA is a proud sponsor), unfolds largely dialogue-free.

It’s hopefully an exciting impetus to push fest attendees toward experiencing the fantastic shorts programs on a huge screen. Like the Polish INHERENT NOISE (paired with feature WHISPERS BEHIND THE WALL), AUTUMN HARVEST crashes over its viewer, expressively telling a story of spellbound sacrifice.

As with our previous previews (see THE STOMACH and SOLITUDO), Hana spoke with FANGORIA about his film and Fantastic Fest…

FANGORIA: AUTUMN HARVEST is often beautiful. What inspired a seaside horror story of sacrifice?

FREDRIK S. HANA: I’ve always been attracted to doing things I’ve never done before. Shooting in black-and-white with a strong sense of past times seemed like an inspiring challenge. The main idea with AUTUMN HARVEST was to make a film that honored the type of horror films that maintained a high degree of mystery. I like the idea of inviting the audience’s own imagination to fill in the gaps and expand on the film’s story. The only thing that I wanted to be clear, and without confusion, was the main character’s humanity. And aesthetically, I wanted to combine the elegant, but stale style of Ingmar Bergman’s early work with something more visceral and modern. Also, I’ve always been fascinated by the ocean. The seaside is a pretty dominant thing in Stavanger, where I live. If you drive a few minutes from the city, it’s H.P. Lovecraft territory.

FANG: The film is largely dialogue free. Are you interested in crafting more experiential pure cinema?

HANA: Absolutely. I’m very into telling stories without dialogue. I see myself as a very visual filmmaker as I’m much more fascinated by the cinematic language than actual words. Personally, if the story works without any dialogue, that’s the way to go. I’m not an opponent of dialogue in general, I just feel that it has to add something more to the film than just plain information.

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FANG: It’s often hard to gauge the exposure of short films outside of festivals. As an experienced shorts filmmaker, what do you think can be done to increase awareness and viewing of short films?

HANA: I guess the key is to make it super accessible. Maybe trying to get write-ups, get a good buzz going. But honestly, I’m still fresh in the game so I’m still looking for the best way to go forth with a short film after the festival run.

FANG: Finally, if you’ll be heading to Fantastic Fest, what are you looking forward to seeing?

HANA: Oh, man. There’s so many. I’m quite curious on Kevin Smith’s new film, TUSK. And THE BABADOOK looks creepy as all hell. THE EDITOR seems like tons of fun, and NIGHTCRAWLER, THE GUEST, HOMEBOUND, HORNS…  And of course, LOST SOUL,  the documentary about Richard Stanley’s failed attempt to make THE ISLAND OF DR. MOREAU. And lastly, every damn movie in the Short Fuse program. Looks like there’s gonna be stiff competition.

Fantastic Fest runs September 18-25 at the Alamo Drafthouse South Lamar in Austin, Texas. For more on the festival, visit the official site. For the Fest’s entire Shorts Lineup, head here.

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About the author
Samuel Zimmerman
Fangoria.com Managing Editor Samuel Zimmerman has been at FANGORIA since 2009, where fresh out of the Purchase College Cinema Studies program, he began as an editorial assistant. Since, he’s honed both his writing and karaoke skills and been trusted with the responsibility of jury duty at Austin’s incredible Fantastic Fest. Zimmerman lives in and hails from The Bronx, New York where his pants are too tight and he’ll watch anything with witches.
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