Be a part of a Cultural Revival at the Historic Elitch Theatre in beautiful Denver, Colorado honoring Mary Elitch and Children's Day featuring family friendly films and fun activities.

Our story begins in 1887 when John and Mary Elitch purchased the 16-acre Chilcott Farm in Highland. They eventually began to develop their farm into a day resort, called the Elitch’s Zoological Gardens, which opened in May of 1890. The theatre, as it appears today, was built a year later.

The Historic Elitch Gardens Theatre has been described as “one of the cradles of American drama” and has hosted such stars as Grace Kelly, Douglas Fairbanks, Sr., Debbie Reynolds, Vincent Price, and many more.

Mary Elitch loved children, though she had none of her own. Every Tuesday while she was park owner, she offered free admission to kids and arranged special events for her Children’s Days. She offered games, contests, and arts & crafts sessions. There were classes in folk dance and ballet as well as plants and animals. Mary also exposed children to music and drama. She even wrote poetry for children.

By the 1900s, more than 3000 children attended each weekly free day. Assistants were hired especially to keep an eye on them. Mary published a weekly newsletter, The Children’s Companion, to publicize upcoming events. As much as Mary loved the children, they also adored her. Often, on the last Children’s Day of the season, they would gift her with small trinkets and hand-picked bouquets of dandelions.

The theatre was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1978, and locally landmarked by the City of Denver in 1995.

Please join us as we are keeping Mary's Legacy alive at Historic Elitch Theatre.
Submit your films today.

Films must be submitted via online screener and appropriate for children.
2) All entry fees paid are non refundable. 3) There are no restrictions on distribution status. There are no requirements or restrictions for premiere status to submit to the festival. We welcome all films and genres that are appropriate for children and young adults. The festival's management has the final say in what is considered inappropriate material. 4) All submission screeners must go through a screening process to qualify for selection. After completing the screening process notification of acceptance will be sent out by email, post or notified by phone. 5) As films are selected they are notified of selection and sent to programming for inclusion into the festival film schedule. Filmmakers are notified in the order of selection and not submission dates. Please be patient as your film goes through our screening process. We are unable to reply to emails asking if your film has been selected or where it is in the screening process. 6) The official exhibition formats for the festival are, DVD, Blu-ray, or a digital file. Any filmmakers wishing to have their film projected in another format other than stated must provide their own equipment at their expense during their screening, and accept all liability for such use and rental. Filmmaker provided equipment will be removed at the end of their screening and returned to the filmmaker. 7) After a film has been selected and the filmmaker is notified, the film will be listed on the festival web site under official selections. Once you are notified please send us by email a promotional photo in JPEG format only and a short word film synopsis for inclusion on the festivals web site, additionally, we will require several synopsis of varying lengths. You may also send a web page link to your films web site which will be linked from ours. 8) Remember the promotional picture and synopsis you send us will also be used in the festivals official program. If you do not supply a short word synopsis your program listing will only show your title and promotional picture. 9) All entered films HET has a non exclusive limited use agreement to use film titles or trailers or film posters for festival and film promotional use only including online, print or broadcast media to promote the festival and selected films to the industry and general public. Filmmakers fully retain all rights, title and interest in their films and all intellectual Property.
10) Official selection films must provide their final exhibition copy to the festival programming department 15 days prior to the festival unless using your screener.
11) HET is hereby granted the right to utilize an excerpt from any film submitted and accepted for exhibition at the Festival for promotional purposes.
12) The individual or corporation submitting the film hereby warrants that it is authorized to commit the film for screening, and understands and accepts these requirements and regulations. 13) The undersigned shall indemnify and hold harmless HET Festival from and against any and all claims, liabilities, losses, damages, and expenses (including but not limited to attorney's fees, and costs of the court) which may be incurred by reason of any claim involving copyright, trademark, credits, publicity, screening, and loss of or damage to the screening videos entered.14) Films may be used in future HET Festivals, and kept in our film library.