Sundance volunteer loves her job
Ryan Summerlin January 11, 2013
During the Sundance Film Festival, there are bound to be patrons who have questions.
They may wonder where the Temple Theater is or what time the next screening begins.
Others may be more specific as to what types of exhibits are going to be on display at New Frontier.
To find the answers easily, patrons are encouraged to ask one of the many Sundance Film Festival volunteers.
While volunteers help make the experience pleasant for the patrons, they themselves have a lot of fun as well.
Just ask Park City resident Rhoda Stauffer who will celebrate her third year as a Sundance Film Festival volunteer this year.
"I love being a part of the festival," said Stauffer, whose day job is as the affordable housing specialist for Park City Municipal Corp. "I think Sundance does an amazing job with all the non-movie venues as well.
"They include the Filmmaker Lodge, the ASCAP Music Cafe and New Frontier," she said. "That’s what makes Sundance a great festival."
Stauffer decided to become a volunteer in 2011, because she thought it would be interesting to learn about the Sundance Film Festival from the inside out.
"Before I was a volunteer, I did attend some of the free local showings, but not a lot," she said. "I have a number of friends who have volunteered and that’s what got me involved."
Her past shifts were usually at the Library Theater at the Jim Santy Auditorium
"I took tickets at the door and ushered people in to the screenings and cleaned up afterwards," she said. "This year, however, I’m going to be at New Frontier at The Yard."
Stauffer has enjoyed visiting New Frontier in the past, but got so busy she missed it last year.
"So, this year I decided to volunteer there so I won’t miss it again," she said with a laugh.
Sundance Film Festival volunteers like Stauffer, who are part time, are known as sign-up volunteers and can choose where they want to work.
"I have to report to a site supervisor or a shift manager, and then we also work with volunteer coordinators," she said. "Most of the jobs are learn-as-you-go, although there are some that require prior experience."
Stauffer has a minimum requirement of 24 service hours throughout the whole festival.
"I usually end up putting in 40 to 50 hours," she said.
Stauffer gets a free movie voucher for every four hours of work.
"Every screening has seats set aside for a certain amount of us who have vouchers, depending on the size of the theater," she said.
Another perk is making new friends.
"I love meeting people, and that includes other volunteers and patrons from all over the world," Stauffer said. "You end up meeting people from everywhere."
While some of the shifts can get a little long, Stauffer enjoys working for the festival.
"The only thing that was hard for me was scheduling around my full-time job," she said. "But the festival is only 10 days, so that’s not a big deal."
The most memorable things for Stauffer in the past have been the New Frontier exhibits and seeing films that she may not otherwise see.
"One film was last year called ‘Where Do We Go Now,’ which was from Lebanon," she said. "I ended up going to see it twice, because I loved it and the movie did a great job in telling a story."
While the 2013 Sundance Film Festival is still a few days away, and this year’s volunteer opportunities are now closed, Stauffer is already looking forward to next year’s event.
"You can bet I’m planning to volunteer for that one, too," she said.
For more information about Sundance Film Festival volunteers, visit www.sundance.org.