On the first day of volunteering, Sundance gave to me:

When I signed up to work 24 hours at Sundance, I expected to spread it out over six days. I never expected to do it in two.

The great part about being accepted into the Sprite Refreshing Films competition is obvious, I get to compete. The unfortunate part is that it means I’m only going to be in Park City for 48 hours, 24 of which have to be spent volunteering. That means a 16 hour shift one day and 8 the next. That means not being able to see more than one movie. That means limited networking. Yikes. What follows next is a recounting of that 16 hour shift.

I woke up at 5:45 a.m. in order to catch the 7 o’clock bus to the Eccles Theatre in Park City. When we got to the theatre, I quickly discovered I had accidentally become extremely lucky. All of my fellow volunteers were outgoing, kind, and most of all, members of the entertainment industry in some capacity. What a way to network, to work with two different groups of professionals all day!

The first 8 hours were spent outside the theatre as a “crowd liason.” We lucked out with the weather, it was beautiful and warm… sort of. Each new screening required the same process: direct “wait listers” to their line 2 hours before the showing, ushering ticket holders into their places, taking care of celebrities, etc. It was actually really fun. Of course there are surly people who don’t understand why they aren’t Robert Redford, but overall it was a wonderful experience.

The real fun happened though when a co-volunteer overheard that I was working all day and couldn’t see any films while I was at the festival. She was appalled that I would come all the way to Park City and not see a film. She then ushered us in to meet with our supervisor and requested that we be moved inside the theatre for the night shift so we could watch the films while we worked. Hallelujah!

The kicker was “working inside” meant being an entourage escort for the film’s stars and directors. Two of the three movies we worked inside for were world premieres, so everybody was there. I was standing and walking alongside huge names and watching truly incredible movies all night. What a rush! We saw “Take Shelter,” “The Details,” and “Perfect Sense.” And we met the stars for all of them.

By the end of the day, I was exhausted. We left the theatre at midnight, but I couldn’t be more satisfied with the day. Huzzah!!


About The Spirit of Sundance

A group of Elon University students experiencing the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah.
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