Durango Independent Film Festival

A nonprofit organization

$11,262 raised by 42 donors

56% complete

$20,000 Goal

The Durango Independent Film Festival (DIFF) celebrates stories and storytellers. Presenting an annual, beloved  5-day event in Durango, Colorado, we share voices that might never be heard in any other forum in this region. Narrative films, documentaries and shorts spark conversations with filmmakers who come to this rural town from across the country and globe – to spend time engaged with audience members. While the pandemic temporarily suppressed in-person movie-going, we ask for your support in bringing back the joy of a collective theater experience – amongst humans who crave good stories. Stories that touch, entertain, provoke, amuse, uplift, enlighten. 

During the Festival, we also present our REEL Learning School Program reaching up to 2,500 students and teachers throughout Southwest Colorado. DIFF is dedicated to inspiring a new generation of storytellers and story lovers.


“Great town, very welcoming towards the filmmakers, many festival events as well as activities to do in town. The screenings were well advertised and attended, as expected in Durango, the Outdoor Adventure series had a packed house... I look forward to next time I screen here!” –Evan Curtis, 2022 Filmmaker

“One of the most hospitable film festivals I’ve been to. I flew in from Connecticut and was blown away by how they treat filmmakers. This is definitely a ‘filmmaker’s festival’ and it’s located in an adorable quaint western town. Looking forward to going back again!” –Alex Morsanutto, 2022 Filmmaker

“Just a wonderful time! The festival is very communicative, warm and the entire town just flat out loves movies! The screenings were packed with folks and there was a great selection for them to choose from. Every night the local cafe became the filmmaker’s lounge which gave away free drinks and food to us filmmakers! Overall, it’s a wonderful group of volunteers who work tirelessly to provide a great experience for audience members and filmmakers alike.”–Eric Toms, 2022 Filmmaker

"Thank you and your incredible team of volunteers & staff as well as the fantastic
sponsors. This festival continues to prove the value of film and the community in a place like Durango where stories connect us to each other and to places foreign and far. Thank you for all you do to support filmmakers."
-Rich Henrich, 2019 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

"Thanks so much for selecting "Always" to screen in Durango! We had a fabulous time and felt incredibly appreciated and right at home. Thanks for making this my favorite film festival! We can't wait to submit future pieces.
All the best."-Tracy Medberry, 2019 Filmmaker


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.

Background Statement

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 many 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 16th year as ED. Our volunteer staff are passionate about film and the organization. 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.

Organization Data


Organization name

Durango Independent Film Festival

other names

Durango Independent Film Festival, DIFF

Year Established


Tax id (EIN)



Arts, Culture & Humanities

Organization Size

Small Organization


835 Main Avenue, #208


835 Main Avenue, #208
Durango, CO 81301

Service areas

La Plata County, CO, US



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