Student Symposium

It's the best place in the world. And I hope to find a way to keep coming back for the rest of my life. Thank you for this precious gift.

Symposium Student, Class of 2018

As a non-film-school student, I truly appreciated this experience. I have never been surrounded by this many cinephiles who, though coming from extremely different backgrounds, are connected wholeheartedly together only via a shared love for film. 15 films in three days. We always met in cinema. Even when we were not watching films, we were talking about films, with friends for life, a ticket holder in line, passengers on the Gondola, and even strangers at the coffee shop.

Symposium Student, Class of 2018

Imagine being a part of an exclusive give and take with filmmakers like Barry Jenkins, Alejandro G. Iñárritu, Todd Haynes, Joshua Oppenheimer, Francis Ford Coppola, Errol Morris, Hirokazu Kore-eda, David Fincher, Werner Herzog, Wim Wenders, Agnieszka Holland, Tilda Swinton, Mike Leigh, Lynne Ramsay, Walter Murch, Michael Haneke, Xavier Dolan, Chloé Zhao, Asghar Farhadi, Guy Maddin, Luc & Jean-Pierre Dardenne, and Volker Schlöndorff, to name just a few of the past participants in the Telluride Film Festival Student Symposium.

It all happens Labor Day Weekend in beautiful Telluride, Colorado. The Student Symposium, now in its 31st year, is open to 50 currently-enrolled college and university students from around the globe, no matter their major. Yes, there’s an official application but the primary requirement is a love of film. All participants in the Symposium receive a Student Festival pass and a modest travel stipend—the rest is up to you.


  • View approximately a dozen film programs over four days;
  • Attend exclusive symposia with filmmakers, producers, actors, writers, and other great minds;
  • Have the time of your life in one of the most majestic and beautiful places on the planet – Telluride, Colorado;
  • Live and breathe film with 49 other students and 2 of the best film faculty leaders you could ever wish for;
  • Share your experience with other passholders and film lovers from around the world;
  • Make lifelong friends.


We are looking for a diverse cross-section of the college and university student population - undergraduate and graduate students; film and non-film majors; and geographical and cultural diversity. The most important qualities we seek are: passion for film, an ability to enrich the discussions with other students and Symposium guests, and a willingness to follow a highly rigorous program of screenings and discussions. With only 50 slots available, each student’s full commitment to the program is critical.


The Student Symposium begins on the afternoon of Thursday, August 29th and continues non-stop through Monday night, September 2nd. The general schedule is as follows:

  • Thursday afternoon: Check-in, formal orientation
  • Thursday evening: Get-acquainted gathering, Education Programs dinner, film screening
  • Friday afternoon: Students-only symposium
  • Friday evening: Opening Night Feed, film screenings
  • Saturday morning: Breakfast discussion
  • Saturday all day: Film screenings
  • Saturday afternoon: Students-only symposium
  • Sunday and Monday: Schedules are similar to Saturday

Your exclusive Student Pass provides admission to all scheduled screenings, the Opening Night Feed, Labor Day Picnic, and other select events. The schedule of screenings is carefully curated by Symposium faculty in collaboration with the Festival Directors.


The deadline for applying to the 2019 Student Symposium has passed. If you missed it this year, please consider applying next year or volunteering at the Festival.

If you are interested in applying for the Production Apprentice Program, please go here: Applications are due May 6th, 2019.

  1. Tell us about yourself by completing the application found via the following link here.
  2. Write an essay on the following: What film matters most to you, and why? Please give this question serious consideration in terms of film as an art and/or social force. Please limit your response to a maximum of 700 words, place your name at the top of each page, and save your essay as a PDF.
  3. Email your essay (in PDF format) to Please include your name in the subject line.
  4. Have an instructor/adviser compose a letter of recommendation attesting to your student status and explaining why they are recommending you for this program. If printed, letter should be provided on official campus letterhead and signed by your instructor or adviser. If emailed, letter should come directly from instructor/adviser’s email address. Please have them scan and forward directly to, writing your name in the subject line.
  5. Receipt of emailed application & letters of recommendation will be sent via email auto-response. It is your responsibility to follow up on your application & letter of recommendation (if you are concerned they were not received). As of the due date, incomplete applications will be penalized and/or disregarded.
  6. If you decide to submit your application materials by traditional mail, please print the original and send to Austin Sipes at 1351 Pine St.; Santa Monica, CA 90405. If you would like acknowledgment of receipt, please include a stamped, self-addressed postcard. A downloadable application is also available by request.


Applications will be reviewed immediately following the March 18th deadline. Application results will be emailed on April 22nd (please do not call before April 22nd). Incomplete applications may be immediately excluded from consideration.

For more information about the Telluride Film Festival Student Programs, please contact Austin Sipes at 310.570.3294 or at

For general questions about any of our Education Programs please email

For more information about sponsorship of TFF and its programs, check our sponsorship page, or contact our development department:

Telluride is a special place. TFF is a special festival. There were quite a few moments when something amazing happened, and I stepped outside myself and had to reflect upon that for a moment. I'm so grateful to have had this opportunity. Thank you so much!

Symposium Student, Class of 2018

The Telluride Film Festival Student Symposium further ignited my desire to create films that enable thought and inspire future generations to create a kinder and more understanding world for us all to live in.

Symposium Student, Class of 2018