Durango Film Institute

In celebrating the art of film, we present the annual 5-day Durango Independent Film Festival, showcasing the diverse and creative voice of independent filmmakers from around the globe. During the festival, we also present our REEL Learning school program reaching over 1,500 students and teachers.

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General Information

Official Name
Durango Film Institute​​​​​​​
DBA/Trade Name(s)
Durango Independent Film Festival
Former Name(s)
Date Established
Offers Additional Colorado State Tax Credit
Tax ID
Headquarters Address
835 Main Avenue, #208
Durango, CO 81301
Colorado Location
835 Main Avenue, #208
Mailing Address
PO BOX 1587
Durango, CO 81302
Other Address
Main Phone Number
970 375-7779
Fax Number
Other Phone Number
Social Media Links

Mission Statement

Durango Film brings a community together with independent filmmakers for the unique opportunity to experience and discuss global, innovative, and diverse films. We are committed to promoting film production in the Four Corners and serving as a liaison between the production crew and the community, thereby creating positive socio-economic impact.

Organization History

The Durango Independent Film Festival was founded in 2005 by key staff members of a previous festival, the Durango Film Festival, when it announced it would close due to financial difficulties following its final presentation in March, 2005. To continue filling a need for diverse and relevant films in our community, volunteers met with local business leaders and successfully presented its inaugural film festival in March 2006. A major lesson learned is reflected in one of our key guiding principles, that all bills are paid, and we have remained true and committed in upholding this principle.

Our IRS designation as a 501(c)3 charity became effective retroactively to our date of incorporation in 2005. The board of directors amended the organization's primary name to Durango Film Institute to reflect a desire to create a presence as a year-round organization Durango Film continues to partner with the Manhattan Short Film Festival as the official presenter in Durango and Cortez, CO. A partnership with the Sunflower Theatre in Cortez has been successful for over 4 years featuring Manhattan Short and our own Best of the Fest screenings.

As Durango Film matured it was able to hire an executive director, who is a founder and beginning her 12th year as ED. Our only other employee is a part-time assistant who works three months part-time each year. We leverage volunteer hours and in-kind contributions so that our cash resources can be used as efficiently as possible. Four of the founding members are still currently involved with the festival.
In 2019, we brought the Four Corners Film Office into our organization as a program and updated our mission statement to reflect our commitment to promoting film productions in the area.


"What an incredible experience this has been! We've been so impressed by this festival -
from the top notch staff to the thoughtful audiences and the killer programming. We are
honored to have been included and hope to come back soon! Thank you for championing
indie film." Christine Weatherup, 2017 Filmmaker

"This fest was nothing short of top-notch! The town of Durango is a vibrant, artsy hub of great people and avid film lovers who flock to see every film. There were multiple events, mixers, and great opportunities to network with fellow filmmakers and producers. Truly unforgettable and everything a festival "should" be..." Lisa Rodriguez, 2018 Filmmaker

"Such a wonderful and welcoming experience, thank you! Like a great film, I had heard such praise and wondered if it might be overrated, but it was not at all. I was blown away with the tight knit community, the networking events and opportunities, the quality of the films, the friendliness of the staff and volunteers, and the hospitality in general. They make me want to create my next film so I can submit again soon." Abigail Wright, 2018 Filmmaker

"Without question; the best festival experience I have ever had as a filmmaker. What a warm, welcoming, well-organized army of film lovers there are running this festival in this stunning little mountain town. Programming choices are consistently high quality and eclectic and I was so proud to see the quality of short film work that my own short was considered worthy to be among" Nicholas Thurkettle, 2017 Filmmaker

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