DAVID BERGELAND/Durango Herald
The Durango Independent Film Festival ended Sunday seemingly how it began last week: With great fanfare and plenty of celebration at the Durango Arts Center.
In fact, four days of celebrating may have taken its toll, because many involved were a bit more subdued than they might have been had the awards ceremony been held Friday night. But there was still plenty of high-spirited bad comedy and awkward moments.
Emcees John Rubano and Craig Semetko kept it together long enough to get through all 13 awards, plus jury commendations, and they were surprisingly kind to the presenting teams. But it’d been a long week for them, too, as Rubano hinted.
“We’re giving the winners the option of receiving an award or a new liver,” he joked. Kind of.
Only one of the winners was on hand to give a victory speech. The screenwriting team of Jules Bruff and Alethea Root won a Jury Commendation in the Best Narrative feature category for “Part Time Fabulous,” earning a standing ovation. Bruff called the Durango festival one of the top two she and Root have attended since making their film.
“And Monaco’s number one, so that’s pretty good,” she said.
“Cellmates,” won Best Narrative Feature. The film is about Leroy, a grand dragon of the Ku Klux Klan, who has a Hispanic cellmate who gets through the anger and prejudice. Leroy falls in love with the maid who cleans the prison warden’s office, and he sees the possibility of a different life.
The ceremony brought the seventh annual festival, which included more than 100 films. Though the numbers won’t be finalized for a few days, Executive Director Joanie Fraughton said ticket and pass sales were up this year.
Fraughton and her staff even made up an award this year. They chose to honor Rich Henrich with the first, and possibly last, “Show the Love” award for his efforts. Henrichis the executive director of the Albuquerque Film Festival, but Fraughton said he’s been in town since early February helping set up panels and workshops and assisting with promotions.
“It was a nice surprise,” Henrich said.“This was another fantastic year for DIFF, and I’m already looking forward to coming back next year.”