An intimate festival for filmmakers and audiences alike, the Ouray International Film Festival is a four-day event nestled in the San Juan mountains, giving Ouray its nickname the “Little Switzerland of America.” Organized artist events and informal gatherings at mountain homes, coffee shops, and the occasional rooftop allow for meaningful connections with fellow filmmakers. These friendships and professional connections live well beyond our weekend together, which is clear in the way that artists work together on projects after OIFF and come back to Ouray each year to reconnect with the community.

Our primary venue is the historic Wright Opera House built in 1888. The 4k cinema projector and audio system, coupled with the auditorium's original nineteenth-century wooden beams and theater curtain create a truly memorable viewing experience. Beyond film screenings, we host scholars, activists, and filmmakers that deliver presentations and participate in Q&As. Past examples include Hollywood screenwriting legend Jim Hart (Hook, Contact, Dracula) sharing his unique story mapping tool TheHartChart, Dr. Brian Foster’s keynote presentation on deconstructing storytelling in the Black South, and Peabody Award-winning documentarian Tiffany Hsiung discussing Asian representation in global cinema. When we screen outside the Opera House, we show a film in beautiful Fellin Park - a park adjacent to the city hot springs with a view of the San Juan mountain range in the background. Because of the beauty of Ouray and all it has to offer, we have large gaps in our program to allow for hikes, soaks in natural hot springs, Jeep rides, visits to breweries, and local shopping.

We are a group of filmmakers and movie lovers, and as our co-founder Terry Kiser (Weekend at Bernies; Rachel, Rachel) says, “this is a festival by artists for artists and the people who love their work.”

Read more about Ouray from Travel+Leisure:

A jury, comprised of the festival's Executive Team and a group of invited guests, determine winners in approximately eight categories. Cash prizes will be awarded to the winners of Best Feature and Best Short. Award-winning films are eligible for our "Awards Retrospective" film series at the Wright Opera House, which leads up to the summer festival. Winners in each category are awarded custom medallions that are hand-crafted by local Colorado artisan Lisa Issenberg.

Previous award recipients include Paul Raci (Sound of Metal), Jim Cummings (Thunder Road, The Wolf of Snow Hollow), Tiffany Hsiung (The Apology, Sing Me a Lullaby), and Jim Hart (Hook, Contact, Dracula).


* All submissions must have been completed no earlier than January 1, 2022.
* Each submitter may only submit one entry per category.
* Films that were not selected in previous years are not eligible to resubmit this year.
* Foreign-language films must supply English subtitles.
* While we enjoy hosting premiers, we welcome submissions from films that have screened at other film festivals.
* Films that have screened theatrically, on television, or online are not eligible for submission, unless under special circumstances.
* We do accept works in progress. Notes are helpful to let us know what stage the project is in. We MUST have a final cut of the project before our final deadline to be accepted.


We encourage submissions in the following five categories:

Narrative Feature Films (40 minutes or more)
Documentaries Feature Films (40 minutes or more)
Short Films (40 minutes or less)
Student Short Films (40 minutes or less)
International Cinema (40 minutes or less; the majority of the film must be in a language other than English)
Music Videos (music videos may be available online as long as their production and posting occurred after Jan. 1, 2021. Original video file must be submitted via FilmFreeway).

We encourage animators to submit their work in any category!


* By submitting your film to the Ouray International Film Festival, you grant permission to the festival to screen your film at the festival if your film is selected.

* Accepted films grant that they have secured all the necessary permissions to enter this film to the Ouray International Film Festival and that the film does not infringe the rights, including copyright, of any third party. This includes use of music and literary material.

Overall Rating
  • Ouray is rare and exceptional. I had the absolute honor to screen and attend this year's festival. It's been two months and all I can think about is "I can't wait to go back!" Jake & Jared put so much thought and intention into the program, filled with films reflecting the times and pushing boundaries in storytelling. Without them I wouldn't have had the opportunity to make so many new friends. OIFF has a special place in my heart. Ahéhéé dóó Mālō, much love to y'all!

    August 2023
  • Ethan Payne

    Where do I start? I've never attended or participated in a festival that is about building a community like this one. A community of filmmakers, a community of film lovers, the way they curate the attending filmmakers nearly rivals the way they curate the films. Nearly. The films are always stunning. And then there's the scenery. You walk outside after a screening and feel as if you're in a movie, yourself. The mountains are unbelievably beautiful. This is a special fest.

    July 2023
  • Hello. I want to say that this is an incredible festival. I would like to thank the organizers and the jury for appreciating our film Breath, for which we received 2 awards) Also, a special thank you for helping Maria Pankova, the film's co-director, to be a part of your festival and to be in this wonderful place OURAY. I hope that next time I will also have the opportunity to be with you. Thank you so much. You are the best)

    July 2023
  • Linh Tran

    After we got selected by Ouray International Film Festival, my producer, who attended OIFF last year INSISTED that we must go this year, so we did and I understood why. OIFF is a filmmaker's dream!

    The screenings and events were so thoughtfully curated. The audience was excellently engaged. The festival team are the coolest, who did everything they could to help build this tight-knit community. I made so many friends who inspired and uplifted. OIFF is one of a kind!!!!

    July 2023
  • Sogbots Productions

    Amazing location, amazing people and amazing films. Ouray is the future!

    June 2023