Everything you ever wanted to know about durango film

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the 2020 festival dates?

The 15th Annual Durango Independent Film Festival is March 4 – 8, 2020.

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 (if you’re lucky, our Executive Director will take you after fest), kayaking, rafting and golfing – to name just a few.

Where do the films screen?

Films will screen at two downtown venues (3 screens) within very easy walking distance to restaurants, shops, and lodging. Two additional screens at the Durango Stadium 9 Theatre will be used Friday, Saturday and Sunday during the festival. The Durango Stadium 9 is approximately 2 miles from downtown Durango.

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.

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 in Durango and we will not screen a film that comes to Durango via a “roadshow” festival in 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. The film must be submitted in DCP or NTSC format and have 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 films
– short and feature-length documentaries
– short subject films
– animated films
– Native American films
– LGBT films (we are committed to diversity, therefore we program LGBT films in our features, documentary and shorts programs)
– family films
– adventure films

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

That depends on how much exposure the film has received via number of hits, etc. We review this on a case by case basis so you can ask but we prefer not to showcase a film that is currently available online.

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 you are unable to provide us a final cut by our extended deadline date of November 1, 2019.

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. We take the program on the road to Ignacio Schools and bus Durango 9-R students to a theatre venue for the program.

  • 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 Joanie at  joanie@durangofilm.org 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.

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.

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 (107 in the 2019 festival).

If selected, do you pay for my travel?

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 either of the two airlines that actually fly to Durango. We offer filmmakers at least 2 nights 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.

If I cannot make an online screener available to programmers, what is the best way to send my DVD screeners?

Please follow the mailing directions found on our submission vendors pages. DIFF address information can also be found on our website at durangofilm.org.

Do I really need two screeners?

Yes, DVDs can be easily compromised so a back up DVD would ensure a timely screening by the programming team. This saves both parties time. If you are providing online screening links, then DVDs will not be needed.

What information needs to be on my screener?

Please include the following:

-Director’s name
-Running time
-WAB number or Film Freeway number
-Contact information including phone number and email address

Can I send publicity material with my screener?

If publicity materials are available online, please provide a link so that we may access them. You may physically send them with the screener if you desire the Festival to have pertinent information that might not be available online.

Will I be notified if you have received my screener?

You will receive a confirmation email once all the submission requirements have been met and your DVDs (if sent) are received.

Will my screener be returned to me?

If you desire your screener to be returned, a self-addressed stamped envelope must be provided at the time you send your submission copy to the Festival.

I do not have time to make sure my screener works. Should I just send it anyway?

No. PLEASE test your screeners to make sure they work before you send them. If they don’t, we might not have time to contact you.

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