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. 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 and actor Elijah Wood.
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.
In addition to the Film Festival, check out these other great special events during the festival:
● HORROR IMMERSION GAME Bleeding seamlessly into the atmosphere of fear and suspense the Stanley Film Festival's Immersive Horror Game, a real horror/mystery narrative using the Festival itself as its medium. Those who follow the clues opt in to the game, becoming the protagonists of an engaging and creepy interactive thriller culminating in an irreproducible climax you can never unsee.
● DEAD RIGHT HORROR TRIVIA HOSTED BY FANGORIA ENTERTAINMENT AND SHOCKTILYOUDROP.COM. Do you consume horror as voraciously as zombies eat flesh? The hit Los Angeles horror event comes to the Stanley Film Festival! Join Fangoria's Rebekah McKendry and ShockTillYouDrop.com's Ryan Turek and test your horror knowledge in eight rounds of terrifyingly titillating trivia. Scare yourself with how much you actually know about horror. Trivia will be held early Friday evening at the Wheel Bar in Estes Park. Come with a team or join one there. All are welcome.
● EYE HEART BRAINS ZOMBIE CRAWL. When there's no more room in hell, the dead will walk the Earth. And, now you can too. Converge upon the Stanley Film Festival in style by participating in a good ol'fashioned Zombie Crawl hosted by Eye Heart Brains, purveyors of the world's largest zombie gatherings. The death march will move along The Stanley Hotel grounds and through the neighboring streets of Estes Park in search of brains.
● Glass Eye Pix Presents TALES FROM BEYOND THE PALE: The Stanley Edition. An ongoing series of audio dramas penned by luminaries from the world of contemporary horror from JT Petty (HELLBENDERS) to Simon Barrett (YOU'RE NEXT), and Kim Newman (ANO DRACULA), featuring players from Ron Perlman (HELLBOY), to Angus Scrimm (PHANTASM), and Mark Margolis (AMERICAN HORROR STORY). The Stanley edition will feature performers culled from the film lineup. Join horror impresarios Glenn McQuaid and Larry Fessenden as they invite you to close your eyes and... listen. Learn more at talesfrombeyondthepale.com● BIG WHEEL DEATH RACE. Guests will race through the expansive grounds of the Stanley Hotel on their very own adult sized big wheel, just like Danny Torrance. Festival pass holders will have an opportunity to race using adult sized big wheels on a course that runs the grounds of the Stanley Hotel. Registration will take place at the guest relations table for teams of four for a relay style race between 32 teams to determine one winner who will walk away with a complimentary stay at the Stanley Hotel.