It might be the most cumbersome moniker for any annual event anywhere, but Durango Film: An Independent Film Festival is the ninth yearly local showcase of regional, national and international independent film – whatever you choose to call it.
After several years away, films will return to the Animas City Theatre, formerly the Abbey, beginning Thursday. Both screens at the Gaslight Cinema will be dedicated to the festival, starting with Wednesday’s traditional Free Movie Night (sponsored by The Durango Herald). The total of 86 films is about 20 fewer from the previous several years, but in the opinion of at least one writer, that makes for a much better organized and attainable festival.
The films are a mix of features, documentaries, shorts (in several different categories), Native American and Adventure Sports offerings. Also on the slate are several special events, including a day of panels and workshops Saturday at the Durango Arts Center. Hollywood stars Wes Studi and Judge Reinhold are this year’s guests of honor. Studi’s film “The Only Good Indian” is one of the festival’s feature selections, and the star of “Geronimo,” “The Last of the Mohicans” and “Dances with Wolves” also will appear Thursday night at Sorrel Sky Gallery for the Native American Film reception. He will be a guest panelist Saturday morning for the “Lying to Tell the Truth” panel, as well.
Reinhold, who starred in several blockbusters including all three “Beverly Hills Cop” films, will speak before and after a special Friday night screening of “Fast Times at Ridgemont High,” the iconic 1980s comedy in which he played Brad Hamilton. He’ll also appear Thursday at the Durango Arts Center for a special screening of “Enid is Sleeping.”
This year’s festival includes several local and regional filmmakers, as well. Durango’s Shan Wells’ 9-minute short “Fortifact: Weminuche Travelogue” will show Saturday and Sunday, and Rich Fletcher’s 15-minute “Journey to the Sky” will show Thursday and Sunday. Cortez filmmaker Russell Martin, of “Two Spirits” fame, will debut “Beautiful Faces” Saturday and Sunday. And Telluride residents Suzan Beraza and Scott Ransom entered “Uranium Drive-In” – a review of which will appear in Thursday’s Good Earth section of the Herald – and “Railyard/Nightwatch,” a documentary on the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad, respectively.