Volunteers essential to the Sundance Film Festival | ParkRecord.com

Volunteers essential to the Sundance Film Festival

Anyone who attends the Sundance Film Festival will undoubtedly come in contact with a volunteer.

They’re everywhere, and according to Whitney Chaney, manager for the volunteer program for the Sundance Institute, the Film Festival couldn’t exist without them.

"The volunteers literally run the show," Chaney told The Park Record during an interview at Sundance Film Festival Headquarters. "They are everything from theater manager, to the venue’s assistant managers to ticket taking and giving directions. No job is too small or too big for our volunteers."

Tuesday marked Day One of the volunteer check-in, which is scheduled to run through Thursday, according to Chaney.

"We will have about 1,830 volunteers that come in from all over the world to help us out," she said.

Unfortunately, there are no shifts left open for volunteers during this year’s festival, Chaney said.

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"We open our volunteer applications in August, and start going through them in October," she explained. "We close the call around the end of November, depending on how many applications we get in.

"While we’re not currently looking for more volunteers for this year, we do have some opportunities available for our summer series," Chaney said. "We love seeing new faces and enjoy welcoming them to the program."

One of the volunteers who will be working during the festival is Anthony DiCola, who moved to Park City from Boston, Mass., a decade ago.

"I’ve been volunteering at the Eccles Center for the past 10 festivals," DiCola said after he checked in on Tuesday. "I initially volunteered because I was new to Park City and thought it would be a good way to meet people and see the festival."

He loved the experience.

"I have volunteered every year since then," he said. "I enjoy the people, the events and the movies. [The Sundance Film Festival] is a great scene and I love it."

A new face this year is Cecilia Korman, who hails from Philadelphia, Penn.

"I’ve wanted to do this for years and years and years," Korman said. "I retired this year and finally decided to leave my husband for 16 days and came out. I am so psyched."

Korman has followed the Sundance Film Festival on the Internet, the Sundance website (http://www.sundance.org/festival ) and the Sundance Channel.

"In the past, at this time of the year, you would find me glued to the TV," she said, laughing. "This year, I just felt I really had to come.

"I’m so excited, because I really wanted to become a part of the whole thing," Korman explained. "I wanted to be more than just a patron. I wanted to kind of become a member."

Since submitting her application in August, Korman has connected with other volunteers through email.

"We’ve met on the Internet together and I have about 10 people who already are so important to me, even though I haven’t actually met them in person, yet," she said. "I want to go find them at our volunteer party and just meet up with them."

Korman was delighted to find out how friendly the Sundance Film Festival staff is.

"They have been so helpful and kind and patient," she said. "That has set such a wonderful tone for me and I feel so healthy being here."

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