The 19th Durango Independent Film Festival is an early spring destination festival cultivating a reputation as a filmmaker’s festival. Located in picturesque southwestern Colorado, filmmakers will enjoy staying within walking distance of three venues, fine restaurants, boutiques, brew pubs, art galleries, and historic Victorian hotels. Durango offers many recreational diversions such as the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge train and early spring skiing at nearby Purgatory Ski Resort. In addition to festival parties, we host nightly gatherings in the private filmmaker’s lounge with complementary beverages such as our own festival beer artfully brewed by SKA Brewing.

We are planning an in-person 2024 Festival Festival February 28 - March 3. We are not planning any virtual screenings at the time of opening our call for entries. Festival events include Coffee Talk with Filmmakers, Panel discussions, Q&A's following screenings, and parties. We will continue to champion the art of independent filmmaking and will showcase your film in the best possible way.

Each year, our festival seeks out an eclectic mix of narrative features, documentaries, and short films. We seek all genres of film including: Adventure, LGBTQ, Native Cinema, and Family. We also curate creative films suitable for students of all ages for our REEL Learning School Program. As stated elsewhere, please submit your film to ONE CATEGORY only. Our team leaders will alert other teams should they feel a different category provides a better fit.

This is a juried film festival with both juror and audience award presentations:
Jury Awards
Jury Award for Best Narrative Feature
Jury Award for Best Best Documentary Feature
Jury Award for Best Short Documentary
Jury Award for Best Live Action Short
Jury Award for Best Animated Short
Jury Award for Best Adventure Film
Jury Award for Best Native Cinema Film
Jury Award for Best Performance in the Narrative Features category
Audience Awards
Audience Award for Best Narrative Feature
Audience Award for Best Documentary Feature
Audience Award for Best Narrative Short
Audience Award for Best Documentary Short
Audience Award for Best Native Cinema film
Audience Award for Best Adventure film
Audience Award for Best Family film
Audience Award for Best REEL Learning film (votes by students)

UPDATE: Please submit to ONE category only, otherwise you will be charged for each category you include. Please select the best category that fits your film's subject/genre. Our programming teams share films that can fit in more than one category so please choose only one. We will NOT process refunds if you choose to submit to more than one category.
Please no requests for submission fee waivers. Alumni filmmakers may contact the festival for a waiver code for one submission.
Works in progress must be received prior the early bird deadline and final completed work must be received by October 31, 2023.
For exhibition formats, BluRays are accepted for back-up purposes only and are not used in presentations.
Please notify the festival if your film will be broadcast on cable or network television or released for sale on DVD prior to the beginning of the festival.
Please note that two of our four screens are DCP compatible. Our other screens will use .mov and .mp4 file formats. If your film is selected, you will be notified as to the required format the festival will accept based upon venue location.
Durango Film will only return ship to domestic destinations, including domestic film festival destinations.
Selected films will not be paid a screening fee. Films that require a screening fee are not eligible for either a juried or audience award. All films will screen twice, in theatres, during the festival and filmmakers will be notified by mid-January 2024 when both screenings have been scheduled.

Overall Rating
  • Chris Ward

    Fantastic festival!! One of the best ones I have ever been to! Theaters were great and there were lots of activities for filmmakers to attend.

    March 2023
  • The Durango Film Festival is located in a wonderful small mountain town where the community really supports the festival. Filmmakers will have a wonderful experience meeting each other at the various events and parties. The theaters have great attendance and Q&A. We were honored with the audience award for our film "Remember the Children". Durango has a terrific film festival!!! Pilámaya

    March 2023
  • Dan Karlok

    One of the best festivals I’ve been to. Well organized, caring staff who treat the filmmakers like family. Very glad I went.

    March 2023
  • Great Festival ✔️ Thank you to hosting our film JUST LIKE WATER 🔹 Greetings from Greece 🇬🇷

    November 2022
  • Ivon Visalli

    Our movie "Out and About" screened at Durango. It's a tremendous festival. Wonderful people, wonderful town, nice screening venues and everything is within walking distance. A great experience all around.

    Peter Callahan, "Out and about"

    July 2022