They're BAAACK – in-person screenings of independent films, conversations with filmmakers, and social events that are the hallmark of the Durango Independent Film Festival. This story is brought to you by Alpine Bank
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The Durango Independent Film Festival returns to in-person screenings and events for its 17th year of feature films, documentaries, and shorts scheduled for March 2nd through the 6th. Last year, the festival aired virtually, complete with online happy hours called Quarantini to accommodate pandemic restrictions. And as a nod to the continuing pandemic, the festival this year will offer both in-person and virtual screenings, question and answer sessions with filmmakers, and social events although in-person events may have their own pandemic requirements depending on community COVID infection rates.
When somebody buys a pass right now, pre-purchases a pass, there's a disclaimer that comes up and says, we maybe have to be masked, we may have to be, it looks like we'll check vaccinations, we're going to mark the pass holders with something on their non-transferable passes. Their pass will have a sticker or something on it to show that we've checked and verified their vaccination. And then also if they are unvaccinated, which is a very small percentage of our demographic, then we will need a 72-hour PCR test.
The festival will offer viewers everything from animated shorts to feature length films and native cinema. Negotiations are still underway with filmmakers for in-person appearances. All screenings will be in downtown venues, including the Animus City Theater, the Gaslight Theater, and the Durango Arts Center. But with all the thousands of films and documentaries available online, on satellite and cable TV, why attend festival screenings?
We believe in the power of gathering for that shared artistic experience because it really does engage. And when the audience members ask those filmmakers questions afterwards, it makes us all think, and it makes us all, you know, like made me want to go out and make a film. You know what I mean? It's just something special and unique about it. And that's what it is. It's that power of gathering and sharing that experience.
Both Malach and Leonard said one of the film festival's goals is to inform and inspire people to take action to improve their communities and the world. That includes giving a platform for the voices of those who otherwise would remain voiceless.
But there's still voices that don't get heard if the festival doesn't bring them to the community. Most of the films that we bring to the community, whether they're documentaries or features or shorts or native cinema, these are not stories that people are going to hear or see elsewhere. They wouldn't even know about them. So these are, and we show a lot of documentaries, both well, adventure docs, regular docs, inspirational docs, native documentaries, and these are films and voices that are not going to be heard and not going to be seen at all and people won't even know about them if we don't bring them to Durango. And we found that that's one of the things that people really love about the festival is getting to go watch movies, whether it's virtually or in person, and in person is always better. Thinking about something like "Schindler's List", or I think about "Saving Private Ryan", when I saw that in the theater with a big crowd of people and what a transformative experience seeing a film can be for people. And this brings films that people wouldn't get to see otherwise.
You can purchase in-person or virtual passes online and see a roster of films selected for the festival at durangofilm.org. Thanks for watching this edition of the Local News Network. I'm Wendy Graham Settle.