Mountainfilm Travel Study

“There are other film festivals that are aesthetically interesting, but no others that I know of are so politically, socially, culturally and environmentally important. I wish that every moviegoer in America could find his way to Telluride.”
—Andre Gregory, actor, playwright

Study Film at the Mountainfilm Festival in beautiful and historic Telluride, Colorado. Winona State's Film Studies program and the Frozen River Film Festival are collaborating on this course featuring a one-week stay at Telluride. Students will volunteer at the Mountainfilm festival; attend screenings, events, and lectures; and learn first-hand from filmmakers about their work. You’ll stay on-site in Telluride in comfortable condominium lodging with your faculty and trip leader. Lodging is within walking distance of all of the festival programming. We’ll provide a breakfast and evening meal together each day. Telluride is a beautiful mountain resort town with a rich cultural history! It’s home to both Mountainfilm and the world-renowned Telluride Film Festival.  Mountainfilm, in particular, endorses a “close-to-zero-waste” policy and a focus on humanitarian, environmental, social, and cultural causes.  The festival programming is relatively self-contained, with venues all in walking distance—and a free shuttle and gondola!

Students will earn 3 credits as part of this program and may register for either Film 240, Film Genres (GEP Goal 6a, Humanities, no prerequisites) or Film 450, Film Topics/Problems (Film Studies elective; prerequisite Film 140 or 240), with assignments varying accordingly but including some pre-travel reading responses, daily volunteering, program attendance, blogging/vlogging, and a final media project.

The primary audience for this program are majors and minors in Film Studies and general education students seeking an engaging Humanities elective. This faculty-led program is limited to students with a cumulative WSU GPA of 2.5 or above, and priority will be given to declared majors and minors in Film Studies.

Before the trip, you’ll complete some selected readings (via D2L) in documentary film form and festival history and theory.  During the trip, you’ll be volunteering at and attending the festival events, participating in group meetings and activities, and blogging about your experience.  After the trip, you’ll complete a final project based on your interests and expertise.

Students can expect to walk up to five miles per day from lodging to various venues and to perform light physical duty in the course of required volunteering activities. Students can expect that high altitude (8,750') and variable weather (including significant rain) may entail a period of accommodation and/or compromise their physical performance. Students will be advised to hydrate, avoid caffeine and alcohol, apply sunscreen, and bring protective headgear and clothing, including boots, a rain jacket, and umbrella.


The program takes place over Memorial Day weekend each year.  Be sure to check out the following for more details and to review pictures, videos, and blog posts.



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This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through grants from the
Minnesota State Arts Board thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.