Everything you ever wanted to know about durango film

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the 2025 festival dates?

The 20th Annual Durango Independent Film Festival takes place February 26 – March 2, 2025 in downtown Durango theaters, utilizing four screens. Films featured in our REEL Learning school program will be made available to teachers to share films in their classrooms.

Where is Durango, Colorado?

Durango is located in southwest Colorado near the four corners region of the Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico and Utah borders. It is nestled in the Animas River Valley surrounded by the San Juan Mountains at an elevation of 6,523 feet or 1988 meters. It is a 3 ½ hour drive north of Albuquerque, New Mexico and a six hour drive south of Denver, Colorado, and the closest airport is the La Plata County Airport. Durango is an outdoor activity paradise – Hiking, mountain biking, road biking, backpacking, rock climbing, skiing, snowboarding, fly fishing, kayaking, rafting and golfing – to name just a few.  Oh, with the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad as an annual sponsor, train vouchers will be provided to filmmakers wishing to ride the train.

Where do the films screen?

Films will screen at three downtown venues (4 screens) within very easy walking distance to restaurants, shops, and lodging. We are also scheduling virtual presentations beginning March 6 featuring a selection of festival films for those who may still not be comfortable in theatres. Festival venues include the Durango Arts Center, Animas City Theatre, and the Gaslight Twin Cinemas.

What is the best way to submit my film?

We offer one online source for film submissions; FilmFreeway, which can be accessed through our website under the Submit Films tab or http://www.filmfreeway.com/

How many times will my film screen during the festival?

Each film is screened at least twice during the festival by the general public, and may be screened additional times by the jurors since this is a competitive film festival. From time to time, we may show a single special screening. Each filmmaker will receive a screening schedule so you know the times and venue of your film’s screening. As stated elsewhere, we are not planning any festival virtual presentations in 2024 unless the Durango school district is unable to provide an auditorium for students participating in our REEL Learning school program.  Films selections will be made by and at the discretion of the DIFF programmers.

How do you select films to be in your festival?

Screening teams of programmers for each genre fill out film evaluation forms after each screening and vote on which films they feel make the best selections for the festival. The programming teams then make the final decisions on which films are accepted into the festival, and determines when and where those films will screen.

Does my film have to be a World Premiere to get accepted?

No, it does not have to be a World Premiere. However, we may not consider a film that has already screened theatrically in Durango 120 days prior to the start of our festival.

Do you accept international films?

Yes, we highly encourage international filmmakers to submit to our festival. Once a film is selected and scheduled by the programming team in early January, the festival will request either DCP or  .MOV or .MP4 file formats with English subtitles. To date, we have shown films from over 80 countries.

What kind of special film programs do you have at your festival?

Durango Film programs include the following:

– feature length narrative films
– short and feature-length documentaries
– short subject films
– animated films
– Native American & Indigenous films are screened in our Native Cinema programs
– LGBTQ films (we are committed to diversity, therefore we program LGBTQ films in our features, documentary and shorts programs)
– family films
– adventure films
Please submit to ONE category in Film Freeway as the platform now charges filmmakers for each category selected. We do not offer refunds if a filmmaker chooses to submit to more than one category.  Please submit to the category where your film fits the best. The programming teams make every effort to share films if, in their opinion, a film would fit better in a different category.

Can I submit my film if it has already played on YouTube or any other online source?

We have no premiere status requirements and, given the circumstances over the past few years, we will consider the exposure your film has received on a case by case basis. Therefore, if your film has been available on YouTube or other online viewing platform for a long period, the programming team will take that into consideration when they make their selections.

Can I submit a rough cut or an incomplete version of my film?

You may, but please be aware that your film may be disqualified if the festival does not receive the final cut by our extended deadline date of October 31, 2023.

What is the Reel Learning School Program?

Each year we curate a collection of short films that highlight different aspects of films, whether it is the aesthetic of films or the art of filmmaking. Area students depending on the age appropriateness of the content are invited to participate in the program. The schools districts that currently participate in the program are Durango 9-R and Ignacio School Districts, grades K-12. Charter Schools are also invited to attend the screenings. In 2023, we presented in-person screenings for one school district, and one High School, while other district teachers chose a virtual classroom screening option. We plan to continue to offer both options to La Plata County school districts.

  • It is noted that all family films will also be screened by the Reel Learning programmers so we have combined the categories and will be in consideration for either program. However, the festival reserves the right to decide which program your film is most appropriate for presentation.
Can I advertise my film in your festival souvenir program?

Yes, please contact the festival office or Cindy at  [email protected] for advertising options. If selected, please send postcards as soon as possible to Durango Film 835 Main Ave. Suite 208 Durango, CO 81301 so that we can advertise your film’s screening times during Snowdown, Durango’s winter celebration in late January.

I am a broke filmmaker that has submitted my film to a hundred film festivals, can you waive my fee?


But how else are people going to see my film?

We are sorry but the answer is still no. We receive hundreds of submissions each year from filmmakers that understand festivals rely on funding from submission fees to showcase and program the selected films. DIFF is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization that works hard to raise the funds each year in order to present an amazing selection of films by independent filmmakers. The ONLY time we may waive a fee is if we see a film in the festival circuit that we love and choose to invite you to screen in our festival. Once a filmmaker screens in our festival, they receive a fee waiver code for one film submission per festival.

How many films do you select?

The number of films selected for each category varies drastically each year, therefore we honestly do not know what your “odds” of getting in are but we believe there are huge bragging rights earned if your film is selected. Typically total number of films screened in each festival range from 85 to 115 (96 in the 2023 festival).

If selected, do you pay for my travel?

Currently, we do not offer any free flights into Durango, CO. Durango is not a hub city for any of the airlines that actually fly to Durango. We may offer filmmakers one or two night’s lodging that have to be booked through the Festival and heavily discounted rates for additional nights (contact Greg at [email protected] to reserve your hotel rooms). If selected and you decide to attend the festival, you will be extremely glad that you did!

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