Sundance Film Festival runs smoothly with volunteers | ParkRecord.com

Sundance Film Festival runs smoothly with volunteers

The Sundance Film Festival is three weeks away and organizers are well on their way to make certain the thousands of visitors who converge in Park City from Jan. 22 to Feb. 1 will enjoy the experience.

Volunteers are a big part of that mission, said Melissa Bowers, Sundance’s volunteer program manager.

"Sundance Film Festival volunteers are incredibly talented and dedicated, with diverse background and experiences, and help with absolutely every aspect of the festival," Bowers said. "[They] help with everything from theater operations, to special events, to helping patrons navigate our shuttle system at bus stops. They [also] shovel snow with our production team, act as docents at New Frontier, and assist in our offices."

Sometimes volunteers are asked to do some out-of-the-ordinary things, Bowers said.

"One of the more unique experiences for some brave volunteers included acting and dancing in the video Kenneth Cole’s team produces for Volunteer Appreciation Day," she said.

The video can be found by visiting http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IgG3KX5OjnA .

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Volunteers have opportunities to request jobs that interest them during the course of the festival, according to Bowers.

"Volunteers typically express interest in specific areas and the Sundance Film Festival and the volunteer department staff do their best to match roles with a volunteer’s strength," she said. "But we are especially appreciative of volunteers that are flexible and excited about helping out wherever needed."

Those who volunteer are required to work a certain amount of time during the festival.

"Full-time volunteers will be working 8 to 10 hours a day, every day of the festival," Bowers said. "Half-time volunteers will work a full time schedule of about 40 hours for one week of the festival, and sign-up volunteers are required to volunteer a minimum of 24 hours."

There are many benefits that come with being a Sundance Film Festival volunteer, Bowers said.

"[They] vary depending on the level of volunteer commitment, but typically volunteers receive screening vouchers, party invitations, and a free custom-designed jacket from Kenneth Cole," she said. "There are also dedicated screenings just for volunteers during the Festival. But [I’ve heard] volunteers often say an unexpected benefit includes the friendships they form with other volunteers who return together year after year."

The application process opens in mid-August, and closes in November.

"Potential volunteers then typically go through a short phone interview before our team of coordinators assess our open positions," Bowers said.

the time the festival opens, nearly 2,000 volunteers from around the world are ready to help.

"Sundance Institute could not pull off the Sundance Film Festival without the more than 1,900 full-time and part-time volunteers who support us each year," Bowers said. "Of those, more than 900 are from Utah and we are grateful for the support from our neighbors and friends during the Festival."

For more information about the Sundance Film Festival and its volunteers, visit http://www.sundance.org.

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