City Lights

I’d do City Lights again in a heartbeat. It was one of the best experiences I’ve had in my school career, and I frankly don’t know what will be able to top it.

City Lights Student, Class of 2023

I cannot recommend this experience enough. These are the moments where students get it ... you can see it on their faces! It's a visible synthesis of learning they've acquired from other courses/experiences with a newfound realization of the importance of storytelling...hearing other people's stories, knowing how to share their own, being vulnerable and developing empathy and creative's a truly magical experience.

City Lights Teacher Chaperone, Class of 2023

I absolutely would recommend City Lights to other students, especially those who are interested in film, even if just slightly.

City Lights Student, Class of 2023


The TFF City Lights Project provides a select group of high school juniors and seniors and their teacher/chaperons a unique opportunity to immerse themselves in the experience of the world-renowned Telluride Film Festival high in the Colorado Rockies.

Here’s what happens when you and your students participate:


  • View approximately 10-12 film programs over five days.
  • Interact with filmmakers, actors, and other film artists including screenwriters, musicians, and producers.
  • Participate in journal writing sessions.
  • Meet with college students participating in the Festival's Student Symposium program.
  • Learn how films are critiqued, how they are made, how stories are developed, how to critically view a variety of creative media, and how to open their minds to new experiences and viewpoints.
  • Continue the experience after the Festival as both students and teachers share what they have learned through the City Lights Project with their peers, school, family and community back home.
  • Have the time of their lives in one of the most majestic and beautiful places on the planet – Telluride, Colorado.
  • Live and breathe film with students and teachers from other participating schools.
  • Share their experience with other passholders and film lovers from around the world.


We consider the City Lights Project a continuing education opportunity for high school teachers as well. One of the teachers’ greatest learning opportunities comes from seeing their students quickly expand their ability to express themselves in a highly participatory environment.

ADDITIONAL PROGRAM REQUIREMENTS - please see downloadable City Lights application below.


Download the 2024 City Lights Project application here. Applications due March 15, 2024.

Two high schools will be selected to attend based on their applications (six students accompanied by two teachers from each school). (One school annually comes from the Telluride R-1 School District, and one from the Baltimore Leadership School for Young Women.) Teachers interested in providing this opportunity for their students must simply complete the downloadable application form and email to the City Lights Coordinator at

Use as much or as little space as you need on separate pages to answer each question to your satisfaction. Completed applications must be received in our offices no later than March 15, 2024. Late applications may not be accepted.


By attending one of the most exciting film festivals in the world, students (and teachers) will have the opportunity not only to screen some of the best and newest selections from world cinema, but also to discuss these films and interact with other students, filmmakers, special Festival guests, Festival staff, and general passholders. They will develop lifelong friendships with the peers they meet through this program, find a new confidence in their own abilities and thought processes, and expand their way of looking at the world as well as themselves.


Teachers whose students are interested in the humanities (history, literature, the visual arts, writing, film, music, etc.) and who would like to use an experience such as the City Lights Project as a launching point for further arts education efforts. An interest in film production is not a requirement. Please see the downloadable application link above for additional requirements.

PLEASE NOTE: The reviewers will consider a pair of schools or a youth service agency and a school.


Thanks to the contributions from considerate individuals, the Telluride Film Festival is able to cover Festival passes, lodging, meals, supplies, and curriculum materials. Travel to and from the Festival (including travel meals + Monday night dinner in Telluride) are the responsibility of the participating school(s).


All applications, correspondence and questions should be directed to:

For general questions about any of our education programs please email

For more information about sponsoring TFF’s student programs, contact today.

Getting to meet a bunch of industry professionals was really cool!! It only solidified how much I want to make films. I got to meet actors, directors, producers, etc.

City Lights Student, Class of 2023