Western Kentucky University

Study Away

No passport required

Sundance Film Festival Experience

sundance sign by Eric Pierson


Watch for announcements about Winter 2015.


Film the way it's supposed to be
—engaged, active, & independent!

Gain access to film making elite while earning WKU credit. 


About the Program

This hybrid course is an intense submersive experience of film through the Sundance Film Festival. The course will introduce students to the study and practice of film festivals, including the analysis of independent films and the understanding of independent production and distribution. Students will engage with the films and filmmakers at Sundance firsthand through a series of screenings, panels, course lectures, and class assignments.

This course is available for honors augmentation and is approved as a Gender and Women's Studies elective.


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Anticipated Learning Outcomes

  • Ability to define and articulate the economics of film.
  • Understand the history and importance of Sundance Film Festival.
  • Compare and contrast multiple approaches to independent cinema
  • Adapt knowledge learned to further success in your field of study.
  • Recognize and define the distinguishing characteristics of films in the American film festival tradition.
  • Identify alternate film language (i.e. narration, lighting, camera angles, and acting) which characterize independent films.
  • Articulate the role of independent film in political and social change.



  • Experience Film through attendance at Sundance Film Festival.
  • Engage firsthand with film makers, critics, and fans of independent film.
  • See multiple independent films.

Learn more about Sundance.



The Program Leaders may determine other eligibility requirements, but at a minimum, all applicants need to meet these requirements: 

  • Current WKU student eligible to register for WKU courses.
  • Students from outside WKU may participate as visiting students.
  • Good academic standing (Undergraduate Catalog p.27; Graduate Catalog p.30)
  • 18 years of age or older at time of departure (parent/guardian permission for anyone under 18 at time of departure).
  • No current disciplinary sanctions as verified by Judicial Affairs.
  • Full payment prior to departure.
  • Completion of all pre-departure orientations.
  • Permission of instructor(s).
  • While the program requires a 3.0 GPA for attendance, program leaders will consider all applicants who apply. Students with lower GPA may be allowed entrance with permission from program leaders.
  • Complete Study Away application

park city street by Eric Pierson  

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Program Package


  • Tuition for 3  credit hours ($1,059 value for resident undergraduates – see details of value )
  • Round-trip airfare
  • Accommodations
  • Transportation from Salt Lake City airport to hotel and back

Not included in program fee

  • Transportation from home to Nashville airport /return from Nashville to your home.
  • Sundance Film Pass or Individual tickets to 10 films
  • Tips and personal expenses.
  • Cost of independent travel (non-program travel).

Final program fee subject to change due to travel arrangements.


Logistical Considerations

  • Students should be prepared to conduct themselves in a mature and respectful manner at all times.
  • This program will also include a fair amount of walking. Proper shoes and attire are required.
  • Expect extreme winter weather, and to pack accordingly.
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Planned Schedule - January 2014  (tentative)

January 6 - 13

Readings, Screenings, and Writing Assignments on the history of Sundance and U.S. Independent Film (online)

January 11-13 

 Midterm exam and final trip preparations (online)

January 14

Depart Nashville.  Class meeting (location TBA).  Dinner and Park City Orientation. Meet in hotel lobby.

January 15

Evening Activity Film Crashing 101

January 17 - 22

Film Screenings

January 23

Group film screening and festival wrap-up

January 24

Return to Nashville


sundance box office 


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Contact Us about Application

Course Options (3 credits)

  • Film 399
  • English 399
  • POP 399

Program Leaders


  • Park City, Utah


  • Winter 2014


  • $2,350 (Does not include Sundance Pass) - updated

Funding Options





Questions? Contact us right away!

 Last Modified 2/2/14