Sundance Directors Lab at The Stanley Hotel

Nestled in the picturesque town of Estes Park, The Stanley Hotel is no stranger to the limelight. Its historic halls and hauntingly beautiful grounds have long been a muse for creatives, notably inspiring Stephen King’s iconic horror novel, “The Shining,” in 1974. This legacy continues as The Stanley Hotel recently hosted the Sundance Institute’s signature Directors Lab, a two-week program for up-and-coming directors, cementing its status as a cornerstone of the film industry.

A Historic Signing

On May 28, 2024, Colorado Governor Jared Polis visited Estes Park to sign two significant bills into law, aiming to bolster the state’s film industry. This momentous occasion took place on the front steps of The Stanley Hotel, underscoring its deep connection to cinema. The first of these bills, the Community Revitalization Incentives, introduces a grant program designed to financially support creative projects. The second, the Film Incentive Tax Credit, provides a tax credit to production companies, encouraging them to bring their projects to Colorado.

Governor Polis emphasized that both bills are about highlighting and supporting the Sundance Institute, which has found a fitting home in Estes Park. The choice of The Stanley Hotel as the venue for these legislative actions was not merely symbolic but a nod to its storied past and ongoing relevance in the film world.

The Directors Lab: Nurturing New Talent

The Sundance Directors Lab at The Stanley Hotel ran for two weeks in early May 2024. This program is a vital part of the Sundance Institute’s mission to discover and support emerging filmmakers. Participants of the lab had the unique opportunity to use The Stanley Hotel as their creative hub, drawing inspiration from its rich history and stunning surroundings. This setting not only provided a serene environment for creative exploration but also connected the directors to the legacy of one of horror’s greatest inspirations.

The Stanley Film Center and Blumhouse Collaboration

In an exciting development for horror enthusiasts, The Stanley Hotel is set to partner with Blumhouse Productions to establish the Stanley Film Center. This new facility will be home to a horror film museum, adding another layer to The Stanley’s cinematic allure. Among the museum’s notable exhibits will be the iconic prop axe from “The Shining” movie production, a tangible piece of horror history that links the past to the present.

A Community and Industry United

The collaboration between the Sundance Institute and The Stanley Hotel is more than a boon for the participants of the Directors Lab. It represents a broader effort to invigorate the local economy and solidify Colorado’s place on the map as a desirable location for film production. The Community Revitalization Incentives and Film Incentive Tax Credit are poised to attract more production companies, fostering a vibrant creative community within the state.

Governor Polis highlighted the significance of these bills, stating, “Both bills are about highlighting the Sundance Institute.” By creating financial incentives and fostering a supportive environment for filmmakers, Colorado is set to become a hub for creative projects, benefiting both local communities and the broader film industry.

The Future of Filmmaking in Colorado

The choice of The Stanley Hotel for the Sundance Directors Lab and the signing of these pivotal bills signal a bright future for filmmaking in Colorado. The state’s commitment to supporting the arts through legislative measures and strategic partnerships reflects a forward-thinking approach to economic and cultural development.

As Estes Park and The Stanley Hotel continue to play host to significant events and initiatives, the area is poised to become a nexus for filmmakers and artists from around the world. The blending of historic inspiration with modern creativity creates a dynamic environment where the next generation of storytellers can thrive.

In conclusion, the Sundance Directors Lab at The Stanley Hotel not only honors the hotel’s legendary past but also paves the way for a vibrant future in film. With the support of the new legislative measures and the collaborative spirit of the community, Colorado is set to shine on the global stage, attracting talent and fostering innovation in the arts. The Stanley Hotel, with its storied history and forward-looking initiatives, stands at the heart of this exciting journey.