Estes Park Film festival

Written by Joe D on September 18th, 2007


The historic Park Theater

It’s incredibly beautiful here in Estes Park Colorado. We saw elk butting heads on the golf course yesterday, the golfers had to play around them.


Estes Park is a pretty little town surrounded by rough, rock escarpments and pine covered mountains. There’s a stream running through the town, right behind the main street. The Starbuck’s has the most beautiful patio right on the stream. But the real gem on the crown is the Park Theater. This is the 2nd oldest operating theater in the USA and soon to be the oldest as a theater in Pennsylvania that had that distinction is closing. The theater is a time capsule into our movie heritage. The guys at the festival, Sean, Cliff, Pete, and Tony are all film buffs and are super proud of the theater.

3 Cool Cats-Pete, Tony, Sean in the booth!

Cliff, Wild Man Of The Mountain

They took great pleasure in showing me around and brought out some recently discovered treasures. Recruiting trailers from WWII, “Women Join The Wacs, Uncle Sam Needs You!”, “Buy Liberty Bonds”, all kinds of amazing historical stuff. Box office receipts from the original presentation of “Gone With The Wind”, original posters from a lot of movies including King Kong and Frankenstein. It’s incredible! An old projector from the silent days complete with Vitaphone record player. The owner of the theater, Sharon Seeley, is super committed to keeping that theater going and I applaud her and her daughter Jenna for doing a great job and a great favor to all film lovers.

Sharon and Jenna-First Ladies of Theater Preservation

This theater is a priceless treasure trove of American Cinema History! The guys told me that there are tons of artifacts piled up in the storage spaces that need to be catalogued and preserved. The Park opened in 1913 and has been showing movies ever since! There’s a Valentino poster in the lobby.
It was a real honor for me to have my film One Night With You screen there. I scrambled like mad to get a 35mm print ready in time for the festival and thanks to my pals at Triage Motion Picture Services I made it. Sean, Tony (the projectionist, a young guy totally committed to film, quality projection, and old theaters),Pete, Cliff, and Jenna were really happy we could project on film. It’s a FILM festival! show it on FILM if possible.



Night Falls on The Park Theater. Psst! It’s Haunted!

I’ve been to a few film fests in my day and I’ve got to say Estes Park was superbly organized! Everything went off without a hitch. I saw more films at this festival than any other. My hat is off to all the organizers. Hey Filmmakers! Go to this festival! It’s just starting to grow and I predict it will be the next Sundance. (Or maybe I should say what Sundance used to be before it got all corporate).

Welcome to The Stanley Hotel! Mwah Ha Ha!

We went to a screening of Horror/Fantasy type films at the Stanley Hotel. This is the spot where The Shining takes place. A cool creepy dreamlike joint. Beautiful but you expect to see a guy from 1920 come strolling around the corner.
The Horror/Fantasy screenings were great. Maybe because of the nature of the genre the films were consistently Cinematic. Effect Shots, creepy sequences, a lot of visually stunning stuff and a great sidebar to the Festival. So Filmmakers submit your films, Film Lovers Go to this festival. I guarantee an excellent time will be had by all.
P.S. By the way I won the Best Director Prize for my film One Night With You and I’m super happy and grateful to all these wonderful people up there in Estes Park!