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Durango Independent Film Festival 2018: So Much More Than Popcorn

Durango Independent Film Festival 2018

The 13th Annual Durango Independent Film Festival (DIFF) kicks off on Wednesday, February 28, with programs, parties and chances to escape reality through Sunday, March 4. With dozens of short-length and feature films to choose from, purchase your pass and pick up a schedule so you can start mapping out your weekend.

Beyond independent flicks, there are also a slew of other opportunities to stretch your imagination beyond toppings for your popcorn and challenge your perspectives with these special gatherings throughout town:


FREE Movie Night: Gaslight Theatre, Wednesday, February 28, at 5:30 p.m., 6:00 p.m., 8:00 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. If you just want a taste of DIFF without shelling out the dough, bring a friend or two to the Gaslight for a chance to experience A Better World (5:30 p.m.), Homestate (6:00 p.m.), Adventures in Skiing (8:00 p.m.) or a collection of Animated Shorts (8:30 p.m.). No pass is required, and entry is open to the public on a first-come, first-served basis, so get there early (Please note: saving seats is NOT permitted for ANY DIFF showings!).

Coffee Talk with Filmmakers: RSpace (734 E 2nd Ave), Thursday, March 1, & Friday, March 2, 8:30 a.m. Sip a steaming cup of coffee and savor some delicious treats as you chat with festival filmmakers, including the inimitable and ever-so-humble, Mackenzie Astin, on Friday morning. Now's your chance to have a casual conversation about this most-fascinating industry with the minds behind the movies. Both mornings are FREE and open to the public.

Bears of Durango, A Documentary: Durango Stadium 9 / Allen Theatres, Friday, March 2, 5:30 p.m. For anyone who's been scratching their head over the insane amount of bear activity in town this year, Bears of Durango offers a glimpse into the lives of members of our complex ursine community. Travel with filmmakers to dens in the area and have a chance to ask Dr. Heather Johnson about her thoughts on coexisting with these sometimes-annoying and always-impressive mammals. A festival pass is required, or you can buy tickets at the door, depending on seat availability.  

Meet the Filmmakers Party: The Irish Embassy Pub Underground, Friday, March 2, 5:00 p.m. till 8:00 p.m. (900 Main Ave). Party in the Filmmaker's Lounge with the ladies and gentlemen behind the film festival! Cash Bar available, and the public is invited.

Workshop: The Art of No-Budget Filmmaking: Four Leaves Winery, Saturday, March 3, 11:00 a.m. (528 Main Ave). Ever thought you might be the next Steven Spielberg but don't have the cash to justify chasing your dreams (neither did Steve, but that’s a different story)? Mark Stolaroff, founder of No Budget Film School, says no money, no excuse. Join him as he reveals the key principles that will enable you to make a film for nearly nothing. Sticking with the theme, this event is FREE! Open to the public.  

Panel: Women in Film - The Reality of Being Female in the Film Industry: Four Leaves Winery, Saturday, March 3, 1:00 p.m. (528 Main Ave). What a brilliant move for DIFF to offer a totally FREE panel surrounding the recent #Time'sUp and #MeToo movements. Join the 4 Corners Film Office and Emmy-award-winning producer, Michael Killen, as he moderates a panel of female filmmakers and industry professionals as they discuss the changing landscape of the film industry. Topics will range from breaking into the industry to adapting to the current cultural environment. Open to the public.  

Script Reading: Animas City Theatre (ACT), Sunday, March 4, 10:00 a.m. When Charlie Hartsock and John Rubano met in Chicago at Second City, they probably never thought their paths would lead to Durango, but here they come. We can't wait to hear what they have to share with us. They'll be reading from their latest screenplay, "The Ride," so spectators are invited to behold a behind-the-scenes look at the screenwriting process. This gathering should be especially enticing for Durangoans, considering the plot line revolves around bicycles, mountains and friendship—a few of our favorite things. A festival pass is required, or you can buy tickets at the door, depending on seat availability. Q&A to follow.


Festival Kick-Off Party: Animas Chocolate Company (920 Main Ave), Wednesday, February 28, 4:00 p.m. till 6:00 p.m. Mix and mingle with like-minded movie lovers and filmmakers over fine food and beverages provided by the Ore House in ACC's gorgeous new space. Open to First-Tier Pass holders (except for All Film pass holders).  

Craft Beer & Culinary Crawl: Thursday, March 1, 5:30 p.m. till 8:00 p.m. Beyond apres ski and football games, craft beer also pairs well with independent films. Start wherever you like, and wander from Brew Pub & Kitchen to Carver Brewing Company or Sorrel Sky Gallery (paired with Ska Beer and The Container Restaurant) and Studio & (paired with Durango Brewing Co. beer and food). The CB & C Crawl is perhaps the biggest incentive for purchasing any of those festival passes, considering this tasty soiree is ONLY for Festival Pass holders ages 21 and over.

Late Night VIP Party: Mutu's Italian Kitchen, Saturday, March 3, 10 p.m. till 1:00 a.m. (701 East 2nd Ave). What's a festival without a VIP party? Enjoy fine food and spirits, while recapping the films with fellow moviegoers, filmmakers, writers and other whos-who of our local film scene. Open to First-Tier pass holders (except for All Film pass holders) who are 21 and older.  

Festival Awards and Wrap Party: The Irish Embassy Pub Underground, Sunday, March 4, 6:00 p.m. till midnight (900 Main Ave). Dress to impress for a star-studded evening of food and drinks that begins with the Oscars simulcast and ends with film fest awards, calling the 2018 DIFF to a wrap. Open to First-Tier pass holders (except for All Film pass holders), who are 21 and over.


Because of the mature subject matter of many festival films, please use your own discretion when considering which films to view, especially where it applies to children. Durango Film is not liable for any public-viewing decisions. Family programs are offered on Saturday at 10:00 a.m. and Sunday at 12:00 noon.


Prices range from $12 for an individual ticket (purchased at the venue with CASH ONLY) to $250 for an All-Festival Pass. Punch passes are also available for sharing. Pickup passes at the DIFF Will Call desk at the Durango Welcome Center (802 Main Ave). For more information, you can visit the DIFF website.


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