A silver screen sampling

Next week’s inaugural kickoff of the Durango Independent Film Festival brings to town an assortment of more than 60 films that will appeal to a wide audience. Film screenings will be categorized in three programs: documentaries, features and short films. A sampling of screenings follows:

• “Flying Downhill:” Documentary about brash and loud-mouthed U.S. skier Bode Miller. Director William Rogers takes the microscope to Miller’s life as a downhill competitor who grew up off the electricity grid in New Hampshire’s mountains. The documentary was a finalist at the 2005 Banff Mountain Film Festival. “Flying Downhill” is being shown only once and is part of the DIFF’s opening night screening.

• “The Chickening:” Sub-four-minute short that is a kind of chicken horror film. It’s an experiment of when camera and subject become eerily close and uncomfortable.

• “The Last Farm:” Short about an elderly man in Iceland who struggles with keeping secret that he has lost his farm and placed his wife in a nursing home.

• “Joy: ” Feature-length film from Israel about a young woman with a dysfunctional family and her journey of self-discovery.

DIFF will also have its good share of local filmmakers

and local subjects:

The festival’s opening night program features “El Inmigrante.” Made by Durangoans John Sheedy and David and John Eckenrode, the film tells the story of a young Mexican shot and killed while crossing into the United States via Brackettville, Texas.

Kurt Lancaster, Fort Lewis College film instructor, offers “Dreams of a Red Planet: The Next Giant Leap for Humanity.” Is humanity closer than we thought to becoming a space-aged civilization? Lancaster takes a stab at answering it.

Celebrated Durango artist Stanton Engelhart is the subject of local Rich Fletcher’s documentary, which is a tribute to Engelhart’s work and how his passion for it and life have an impact on those around him.

In 10 minutes, local Marc Snider highlights how everything changes when you are a teen-ager moving into adulthood in “Fourteen.”

Former Durangoan Julia Dengel tackles the subject of the drawn-out and embattled Animas-La Plata Project. “Cowboys, Indians and Lawyers” explores political, financial, water and power struggles between American Indian and Anglo politicians and communities.

The festival’s complete schedule is available in the Durango Telegraph’s center section pull-out this week.