The 13th Durango Independent Film Festival is a late winter/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 two 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 courtesy of SKA Brewing.

All films selected will be screened at least twice during the festival. Filmmakers are encouraged to participate in Q&A sessions following screenings to further engage and connect with the audience. To be more involved, there is an opportunity to participate in panels and/or workshops. Each year, our festival seeks out an eclectic mix of narrative features, documentaries, and short films. We seek all genres of film including: Adventure, LGBT, Native American, and Family. We also curate creative films suitable for students of all ages for our REEL Learning School Program.

"I cannot overstate how wonderful of a time we had in Durango last week. You all truly go above and beyond to make filmmakers feel amazing. From packed screenings to quirky hotels to delicious food and excellent parties. Durango had it all. Thank you." - Director Edd Benda, Superior
"I want to thank you so much for everything you did to make the festival possible. I know it's a big collaboration, just like any film production, but it starts from the top. I couldn't have prepared for how welcoming and enjoyable of an experience it was. I could go on and on, but I want to tell you it's the best film festival experience I have had! Not only that, but it was very inspiring as a filmmaker to share my film with the Durango community, and the enthusiasm it received was overwhelming. I didn't want to leave. It was an honor to be a part of it...keep doing what you're doing! You should be very proud." - Director Darren Rudy, Blind Date

Awards & Prizes

This is a juried film festival concluding with both juror and audience award presentations.

Rules & Terms

Please no requests for submission fee waivers.
Works in progress must be received prior the early bird deadline and final completed work must be received by November 1, 2017.
For exhibition formats, DVDs are required for back-up purposes only.
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.
DF reserves the right to exclude a film from the festival if that film has been previously broadcast.
Please note that DCP is the preferred exhibition format for all feature length documentaries and narrative features as well as short films. All festival venues have DCP formats.
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 during the festival and filmmakers will be notified by mid-January 2018 when both screenings have been scheduled.


6 Reviews

Overall Rating
Quality
Value
Communication
Hospitality
Networking
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    John Serpe

    This festival is so amazing! From top-notch staff and volunteers to cool one-of-a-kind events and parties to well-attended screenings, I loved every minute of it. I met so many great filmmakers that I now consider friends. I'm afraid to rave about it too much because I don't want it to be overrun next year :)

    August 2017
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    Response from festival:

    John, It was absolutely a delight and our pleasure to host you and all your new friends! I have the BEST volunteer staff ever, I count my good fortune daily because they really are talented and amazing. We look forward to seeing you again so please stay in touch and keep those cameras rolling. Cheers, Joanie

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    Paden Falllis

    Durango is 100% worth your time. It's a small festival, yes, but one with great individual attention to filmmakers, attentive (and dedicated) audiences, and excellent opportunities to network with your peers. Highly recommended.

    April 2017
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    Christine Weatherup

    I cannot speak highly enough about this festival. Durango gets it right in every way! The staff is incredibly knowledgable, organized and kind. The screenings are well attended and there are ample opportunities to meet/network with fellow filmmakers. If you have the opportunity to attend DIFF, DO IT!!

    March 2017
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    Jason Honeycutt

    Hands down, easily one of the BEST festivals out there... I promise you. I've literally been in around 100 festivals and this is at the very, very top of the group. I had two films screen here over the years; "Intersection" and recently "Supermom". Top to bottom, THIS is what festivals are supposed to be. They have amazing venues; two right in beautiful downtown Durango and one just a little bit around the corner at a 'chain' theater. What's great here is that local people come out to support the festival. I wasn't able to fly in for my last film (work wouldn't let me off!!) but my first film, I had three screenings and every one was sold out. I assumed my screening at 9am on morning would be empty but no, people lined up.

    New paragraph for this... again, as a filmmaker, at too many "festivals" it's us showing our movies to the other filmmakers and no real audience off the street, or worse yet, to empty theaters, which happens a lot in "big city" festivals, especially here in LA. The local support and people coming out is beyond rewarding. That is an asset that too many festivals will never have.

    The communication and hospitality here is ridiculously amazing and I have to tip my hat to Greg Weiss who's a big part of that. They communicate with you every step of the way, unlike too many other festivals. They really make you feel wanted and like you're now part of the family. At no point do you have a question that won't get immediately answered, no matter how busy they are.

    The town reminds me a lot of a better Park City... yeah, I said it :) I'm not exaggerating. There are great restaurants, beautiful things to see, super friendly people. What a great place to hold a festival.

    The line-up of films, wow... so good across the board. Some festivals, you get excited to be a part of it then you see some super 'beginner' films -- not here. Everything here is top shelf and you should be super flattered to be accepted here.

    I wish people would see other festivals to compare how good you have it here. This will ALWAYS be on my list of submissions and I'll beg and plead to get in if I still can in the future... such an amazing festival. RUN to your submissions tab and submit here.

    March 2017
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    Joseph Irvin

    I can't praise Durango Film enough! From the start, I found them to be very communicative and enthusiastic, and it only got better once I arrived. I have only limited experience with festivals so far, but the people running this fest have already set themselves apart in my mind. I was surprised by their generosity on more than one occasion. The festival is well-organized, has plenty of great volunteers, and offers many fantastic perks to entice filmmakers to attend. They have good funding, generous sponsors. I was pleasantly surprised to find that the festival took place mainly in a small area of downtown Durango, with two theaters, event spaces, and several hotels within a one-block radius, easily and quickly walkable. Plus, the town itself is welcoming and lovely; there are lots of activities to do in the area (as well as special events or parties every night), when you're not watching program after program of great movies. The people of Durango are passionate about film, and there was hardly a screening I attended that didn't sell out (they ask intelligent questions at Q&As as well). I wholeheartedly recommend the Durango Independent Film Festival: submit, and be sure to attend: you will have a blast.

    March 2017