For 12 years, the Durango Independent Film Festival has been hauling hella rad films to our mountains. Francis Ford Coppola said, “I think cinema, movies, and magic have always been closely associated. The very earliest people who made film were magicians.” If that’s true, then Joanie Fraughton, executive director of the fest, is a conjurer extraordinaire. There are 100-plus films to see.
Here are 10 to squeeze into your must-see movie list.
Feature Films“June Falling Down”
Playing: 9:30 a.m. Friday, Animas City Theatre; 5 p.m. Saturday, Gaslight Theatre
It’s been one year since June’s father died after a long battle with cancer. June has aimlessly wandered the world grieving. Now, she has to return home to Door County, Wisconsin, for her best friend’s wedding. On top of her bestie growing up and getting married, June has to deal with real life. That means deciding if she’s going to stay in small town Wisconsin to rebuild her relationship with her mom or return to a crap barista job in California. Drama.
“Lost in Paris (Paris Pieds Nus)”
Playing: 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Gaslight Theatre; 12:30 p.m. Saturday, Durango Stadium 9
Librarian Fiona rushes from Canada to Paris to take care of her 93-year-old auntie. Only, when Fiona gets there, Aunt Martha has disappeared. Fiona’s search is interrupted by whimsical disasters and a tramp named Dom, who might as well be a puppy following at her heels. If you are a fan of “Amélie” or Buster Keaton, you’ll probably dig “Lost in Paris.” French-Belgian comedy.
Playing: 1 p.m. Friday, Gaslight Theatre; 5.30 p.m. Saturday, Durango Stadium 9
Halee is a 16-year-old Diné poet who runs away from an abusive home to take a journey of self-discovery. She’s a refugee with her best friend by her side searching out a place to call home. A film by Klee Benally, lead singer of Navajo punk band, Blackfire. (This film will be shown in conjunction with the 15-minute short, “Nowhere Land.” Combined running time is 90 minutes.) Coming-of-age feature.
“The Tiger Hunter”
Playing: 6 p.m. Wednesday, Gaslight Theatre; 2:30 p.m. Sunday, Durango Stadium 9
Sami’s father was a legendary tiger hunter. How can someone live up to a legacy like that? You move away from home and do your best. In 1970s Chicago, a high-end engineering job falls through Sami’s grasp. Stuck in a dead-end job, there is no way he can live up to his father’s life or impress the woman of his dreams … until a motley gang of oddballs enters his life and give him a little help. Folks will recognize Sami as actor, Danny Pudi, best known for his role as Abed on “Community.” Comedy.
Playing: 10 a.m. Thursday, Gaslight Theatre; 3 p.m. Saturday, Gaslight Theatre
Jeb leads a writing retreat in the mountains. What starts as a story workshop for his failing children’s TV show becomes voyeuristic obsession. Jeb places cameras all around the writing cabin to spy on his coworkers and provocative games of manipulation soon spiral out of control. Psychological horror.
Documentaries“Here Come the Videofreex”
Playing: 2:30 p.m. Thursday, Gaslight Theatre; 8:30 p.m. Friday, Gaslight Theatre
In 1969, Sony created the first hand-held video cameras. Soon after, the Videofreex helped start radical pirate television. Throughout the 1970s, the Videofreex covered events, like Woodstock, and people, like activist Abbie Hoffman and Black Panther Fred Hampton. They were a gang of artists and politically-active youngsters who demanded a democratized media be a part of the future.
“My Love Affair with the Brain: The Life and Science of Dr. Marian Diamond”
Playing: 10 a.m. Friday, Gaslight Theatre; 6 p.m. Saturday, Gaslight Threatre
Dr. Marian Diamond carries a preserved brain around in a hat box to show to students. She’s will utterly charm you with the joy she takes in science. Discover the mysteries of your own brain and the 90-year-old YouTube megastar who helped to found the field of neuroscience.
“SEED: The Untold Story”
Playing: 11:30 a.m. Friday, Gaslight Theatre; 5:30 p.m. Sunday, Durango Stadium 9
Over the centuries, 94 percent of seed varieties have disappeared as farming turned into industrial agriculture. Farmers, scientists, lawyers, and indigenous seed keepers battle big business to try and keep seed diversity alive so that a healthy environment can thrive. By the same filmmakers as “The Real Dirt on Farmer John.”
Shorts“The Backwater Gospel”
Playing: 8 p.m. Friday, Animas City Theatre; 4 p.m. Sunday, Animas City Theatre
Who is to blame when bad tidings come to a small downtown? The tiny town of Backwater is trying to figure out if the tramp who has set up a shack in the middle of town is the cause for Death and his Undertaker coming around. It seems like people die when the tramp sings merrily. This gritty, lusciously-grim 10-minute film will play during the “Expect the Unexpected” Shorts Program. Total running time for the shorts grouping that includes “Backwater Gospel” is 98 minutes. Animated short.
“Poshida: Hidden LGBT Pakistan”
Playing: Noon Thursday, Gaslight Theatre; 9:30 a.m. Saturday, Gaslight Theatre
Sexuality and gender identity are explored in a South Asian setting. With unprecedented access, “Poshida” reports on the lives of the underground LGBTQ culture of Pakistan. The effects of British colonialism, religion, class, and U.S. foreign policy tie into this historical and modern view of a hidden people. Documentary short.
The Durango Independent Film Festival takes place at varied venues across Durango. Having a festival ticket does not guarantee seating. Arriving early is a good idea. Additionally, saving seats is not permitted. Movies are shown at these fine establishments:
Animas City Theatre: 128 E. College Dr.Durango Stadium 9: 900 Translux DriveGaslight Theatre: 102 E. Fifth St.For more information about the schedule and pricing of events, visit durangofilm.org.
Editor’s note: DGO is an official sponsor of the 2017 Durango Independent Film Festival.Patty TempletonDGO Staff Writer