Must-see movies at the Durango Independent Film Fest

by Patty Templeton

Cinephiles, get ready to throw down green because there’s hella fab movies to be seen. The Durango Independent Film Fest is back for its 13th year. It’s got a smattering of feature films and loads of docs that will keep you movie marathoning for days at a time.

Get your popcorn ready, sneak in those Swedish Fish if you must, here’s DGO’s must-see movies at the 2018 Durango Indie Film Fest.

FeaturesAnimated Shorts Program

Playing: 6 p.m., Thursday, Animas City Theatre; 12:30 p.m., Saturday, Durango Stadium 9

Thirteen animated shorts with about a 90-minute run time total. Experiences stories as wide-ranging as a father walking in his son’s heels, gospel music stopping the havoc of a horned beast, fish screaming in trees to a town’s irritation, and a corkscrew battling a bottle for the lives of seven fireflies. [video:3]

“In Between”

Playing: 10 a.m., Thursday, Gaslight; 2:30 p.m.; Friday, Gaslight

A lesbian DJ, a fierce lawyer, and a graduate student live in the same flat in big-city Tel Aviv. If you like “Girls” or “Sex in the City,” you should try this badass drama depicting the struggle of faith and societal expectation weighing on modern Palestinian women struggling to live free lives.[video:4]

“Keep the Change”

Playing: 9 a.m., Friday, Gaslight; 8 p.m., Saturday, Gaslight

David and Sarah have autism and they’re falling in love in this inclusive, hella rad romantic comedy. A somewhat clumsy, kind, and completely engaging relationship builds on screen that showcases autistic adults living deep lives with agency, rather than as passive people who can only engage in managing their disorder. F and yes.[video:5]

Based on a True Story Shorts Program

Playing: 8:30 p.m., Friday, Animas City Theatre

These five narrative shorts range from 11 to 40 minutes. Highlights include “Krieg,” where a soldier protects a wounded enemy airman, “Lawman” that dramatizes the real-life story of the first African-American deputy with the U.S. Marshalls, Bass Reeves, and “Watu Wote” about the growing mistrust and terrorist attacks between Christians and Muslims in Kenya.[video:2]

Documentaries“Bears of Durango”

Playing: 5:30 p.m., Friday, Durango Stadium 9

Maybe, just maybe, human-bear interactions are slightly more complicated than people leaving their trash unlocked in Durango. Colorado Parks and Wildlife did a six-year investigation of human-bear conflict narrowed down to this localized, one-hour doc.[video:1]

“Mama Colonel”

Playing: Noon, Thursday, Gaslight; 9:30 a.m., Saturday, Gaslight

Colonel Honorine, aka “Mama Colonel,” is a tenacious Congolese cop advocating for the end of (sexual) violence against women and children. This is Dieudo Hamadi’s third, emotionally-vested doc on the social realities of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It is a harsh vision to a country in crisis. [video:6]

“I Am the Blues”

Playing: 11:30 a.m., Friday, Gaslight; 7:30 p.m., Saturday, Gaslight

The Chitlin’ Circuit is a series of venues in the American South deemed safe and welcoming for African-American performers during racial segregation. Venues along the Chitlin’ Circuit are still going full-tilt, and documentarian Daniel Cross travels the route to talk to the oldest living blues musicians working it. You’ll see guest appearances by folks like Jimmy “Duck” Holmes, Little Freddie King, L.C. Ulmer, and Bobby Rush. [video:7]

Native Cinema Program 1

Playing: 5:30 p.m., Friday, Animas City Theatre; 2:30 p.m., Sunday, Durango Stadium 9

There are three separate Native Cinema presentations, but ye gods, this first set is bangin’. “Rae” is a narrative short where a young Mohawk girl has to deal with her mother’s schizophrenia while setting up her seventh birthday party. The main documentary feature is “Rumble: The Indians Who Rocked the World.” “Rumble” examines the Native people who contributed to early rock ’n’ roll like Link Wray, Charley Patton, Randy Castillo, and Jimi Hendrix. You really, really want to see this movie.[video:8]


Playing: 9:30 a.m., Friday, Gaslight; 5:30 p.m., Sunday, Gaslight

Recommended if you’re into “Black Mirror” or seeing how our sci-fi dystopian future ain’t that far off. Today, in real life, computers, cameras, and algorithms are capturing data on citizens and calculating how likely they are to commit crimes. Questions like, “What if the data is biased?” and “How can we be guilty of a crime yet uncommitted?” are examined in this compelling AF doc.

Bonus EventsThough the Durango Independent Film Festival is a ticketed and pass-holder fest, there are free public events. Here’s DGO’s top picks of free fun.

Coffee Talk with Filmmakers: Mackenzie Astin

Details: 8:30 a.m., Friday, R Space

Coffee, tea, and pastries will be served at this informal talk with actor Mackenzie Astin, best known for his role on the 1980s comedy “The Facts of Life,” and roles on shows like “Lost,” “House,” and “Psych.”

Meet the Filmmakers Party

Details: 5 p.m., Friday, Irish Embassy Pub Underground

Shmooze about with a cash bar, creators, and other film fiends.

The Art of No-Budget Filmmaking

Details: 11 a.m., Saturday, Four Leaves Winery

A panel of professional creators discussion how to make a champagne movie on a beer budget.

Women in Film

Details: 1 p.m., Saturday, Four Leaves Winery

The reality of being female in the film industry, from acting to directing, is discussed at this panel, hosted at the lovely Four Leaves Winery. Try their Tempranillo, it effing slays.

Patty Templeton


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