Everything you ever wanted to know about durango film
Frequently Asked Questions
The 19th Annual Durango Independent Film Festival takes place February 28 – March 3, 2024 in downtown Durango theatres, utilizing four screens. We are not planning any virtual festival screenings at this time. However, films featured in our REEL Learning school program, may possibly be made available to teachers to share films in their classrooms. In 2023, the program was shared in person with students in the Ignacio school district and students at Animas High School in Durango, while the Durango school district students watched the program virtually.
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.
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.
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/
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Yes, please contact the festival office or Joanie at [email protected] for advertising options. If selected, please send postcards as soon as possible so that we can advertise your film’s screening times during Snowdown, Durango’s winter celebration in late January.
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.
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).
Currently, we do not offer any free flights into Durango, CO. Please don’t tell us to go out and secure an airline sponsor. We’ve tried but 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 has to be booked through the Festival and heavily discounted rates for additional nights. If selected and you decide to attend the festival, you will be extremely glad you did.