In 2010, Timothy Schultz and Theresa Likarish, husband-and-wife film lovers who spent their free time traveling the festival circuit, decided to create a Denver-based film festival that they’d want to attend themselves. The first edition of the Mile High Horror Film Festival, held at the Tivoli, hosted a handful of people. By 2015, the fest was attracting upwards of 6,000 fans.
After that, though, they put their festival on pause…then announced in 2019 that it would be back in May 2020 at the Alamo Drafthouse in Littleton, with a mix of big-name talent, nostalgic films and the best new horror.
But then came the pandemic, and the festival was postponed. Now, like the Denver Film Festival, the Mile High Horror Film Festival has migrated online to a virtual platform; it’s slated to run September 24 through October 4. “Right now we’re in the thick of finishing the program,” Schultz says. “We’re showing right around ninety films,” with a dozen shorts programs and several full-length films, including Fried Berry, Unearth and Don’t Click.
With panels, Q&As with actors and directors and more, he hopes to replicate some of the magic of pre-pandemic film festivals.
“I love meeting people face-to-face, hosting filmmakers and guests in person and meeting all kinds of movie stars,” explains Schultz. “The physical event — it’s hard to completely replicate that in a virtual world. We’re not in the same space, but we’re doing everything we can to make it special — more than renting a movie on V.O.D. We’re trying to make it as interactive as possible through chat and still hosting virtual Q&As. … It’s not the same as in the theater, but we’re still trying to make it very special for people.”
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With so many festivals now online, each one has to make a case for why movie lovers should spend their money there. “What differentiates us is the size of our program,” Schultz says. “We have so many films from all around the world, and a lot of them are really high-quality, new films that people can’t see anywhere else. That’s another thing that makes our film festival special: They’re not out yet.”
For a full schedule and passes, which run $75, go to Mile High Horror Film Festival website.