Launched in 2013, the Stanley Film Festival (SFF) celebrates the best of independent horror cinema with a slate of film premieres, screenings of classic scary movies, Q&A sessions with industry insiders, student competitions, receptions and more. The four-day festival fittingly unfolds at a venue steeped in happy hauntings and famous horror of its own-The Stanley Hotel.
The historic hotel, known for its grand architecture and surrounding Rocky Mountain scenery, inspired Stephen King's The Shining and played a major role in the book's second film adaptation, which portrayed Stephen King's vision for the film. Hotel guests report paranormal activity, none of it sinister, which has been attributed to former housekeepers, past guests and even the hotel's first owners, F.O. and Flora Stanley-all of whom are pleasant ghosts.
The festival parlays classic horror films with contemporary ones, presenting international works from emerging and established filmmakers. In 2013, the films represented 13 countries. SFF further perpetuates the genre by incorporating student works and awarding a Stanley Dean's Cup. In honor of veteran achievement, the festival also presents a Visionary Award. Notable attendees have included actor, director, writer and producer Eli Roth (the first Visionary Award recipient); director James DeMonaco; producer Jason Blum; and actor Ethan Hawke.
Typically, the program presents feature-length works as well as shorts, such as The Purge, Sightseers, Cabin Fever, Haunted Castle and others. Book signings, themed meals, a masquerade ball and additional events round out the weekend of scary fun. Like other film festivals, movies are shown more than once, giving attendees multiple opportunities to see the film of their choice. The festival makes a point of screening Colorado premieres, U.S. premieres and world premieres.
All of the events take place at the hotel or at the nearby Reel Mountain Movie Theater. The hotel offers special lodging-festival packages for attendees. Individual tickets to specific events also are available. Additional information on the festival can be found at StanleyFilmFest.com, or click for more on The Stanley Hotel.