A word of praise please for the Sundance Film Festival Volunteers. It's true! They run the show! And, everyone involved with the festival is proud of this fact. If it were not for the 1,500 or more volunteers who service the film festival attendees year after year; the festival organizers could not accommodate the crowds that flock to the most renowned independent film festival in the nation.
The festival is greatly appreciative of the many wonderful sponsors (a volunteer in their own way) such as Kenneth Cole who delight in giving volunteers special items in honor of their hard work. Cole provides the perfect outerwear necessary for the jobs to be done while in the cold winter weather.
Mid-festival there is even a day designated to honor the volunteers. Before each film screening there is an announcement about the volunteer day, a special trailer is screened and the festival attendees are encouraged to thank the volunteers for their investment of time and energy.
The caliber of people who become a Sundance Film Festival volunteer is impressive. I have met several over the years. They come from all walks of life and all ages. They come from all around the world. Groups of friends meet up and work the festival year after year as long as they are able. In the past, I have written up a few stories of how people became a volunteer. They all have a fun story to tell.
I have cause to be especially thankful for those who worked inside the Holiday Village Theaters. They are organized and know how to guide the festival attendees in and out of the showings easily and explain the procedures. They politely ask us time and time again to take out our trash and all our belongings when we leave the theater after each film showing. I am mindful of their heed and try to I carry out their wishes.
As working press it's hard to keep track of all my stuff--iPhone, ipad, notebook, schedules, food, drinks, pens, camera, purchases, books, make-up, sunglasses, reading glasses. Not to mention all my winter outerwear taken on and off at each showing. Therefore, I have a great light weight backpack that holds a place for all my daily needs. When we do need to leave the film early for some reason, I admit it takes time to get it all together. And, in the dark it is often a comedy of errors.
One of my longest film days, I entered one film late but the movie had not begun. Once seated I took off all of my outerwear and laid each item in a pile on my lap. I opened my stuffed backpack to grab my lunch to eat while viewing the film. During the credit roll, I quickly gathered my things to beat the rush-after-the-film and headed to my next destination: an appointment for coffee. I reached into my back pack to get my special zipper pouch to pay for my coffee and snack. I carry a lightweight black zipper pouch for my cash, credit cards and photo ID. The pouch wasn't in its proper safe place in my pack. No worries, I had some cash in my pants pockets. I assumed the best--the pouch just relocated in my pack when I hurriedly left the theater.
After my appointment I found a place to unpack my belongings. No black zipper pouch was found. I panicked! My mind raced as I tried to recall where it could have fallen out of my pack. I had to get to a public screening twenty walking minutes away to attend the film with a friend.
After the film, I re-traced my steps on my walking route. Several hours had passed. Nothing had appeared on my route. Not surprised! The thought of losing all my money, credit cards and drivers’ license made me ill. Discouraged, I ended my journey back to the press theaters and explained to a festival volunteer my situation. I asked if I could look through the lost & found box for my black zipper pouch. The volunteers were very protective of the lost & found area and while standing next to me they allowed me to look for my belonging. I gasped at the sight of my black pouch. I gleefully exclaimed, "Yes! This is it!" They asked me what items would be inside. The volunteer opened the little bag. Saw my contents. Looked at me and smiled. She handed me my black zipper sack. I thanked her profusely. As I sat waiting for my next film, I nervously opened the pouch and found nothing missing. Oh! Wow! I was so grateful.
Thank you to the volunteers who keep the press theaters clean. Not only from the trash but the extra duty to keep track of attendee’s lost prized possessions. My hat goes off to the volunteers who pride themselves at being honest. I am forever grateful for their integrity.