Home / Entertainment / Volunteering gives Utah locals an inside track at Sundance | Sundance Film Festival

Volunteering gives Utah locals an inside track at Sundance | Sundance Film Festival

If you walk through the Sundance Film Festival, you can see a celebrity or your favorite film director, but you'll almost certainly see the volunteers.

This year, they wear blue jackets (to receive as part of the concert), and can be seen throughout the festival selling tickets, acting as ushers, shoveling snow, answering questions, directing traffic and more.

Of the slightly more than 2,000 volunteers at the 2018 festival, approximately half – 1,172 through January 16 – are local to Utah. Volunteering gives local moviegoers the chance to see movies at the festival without buying tickets or passes, and participate in the action at the annual event in which Utah becomes the center of Hollywood talk.

"The idea of ​​being able to participate and I also see many more films than before was definitely tempting," said Conor Hilton, a Provo resident who volunteered at the festival in 2016. "It was revealing to see how the festival is organized "

Tom Taylor teaches Welsh at Brigham Young University and has lived in Provo for the past 15 years. At that time, he has volunteered at Sundance about 10 times, every time he has been to Utah, even at this year's festival.

Taylor recalls a particularly amazing experience that he had one year working at the Sundance facility. I was keeping the doors open for people when they came in for a screening.

"And sometimes I would look them in the eye, but the doors were heavy enough that I would often look down, but I would give them a verbal welcome," he said. "Once I opened the door, I saw some cowboy boots and I welcomed Sundance, and he said:" Well, thanks, I guess. "I looked up and it was Robert Redford. I do not know how often will be received at Sundance, but not very often, I suppose. "

Taylor has enjoyed working all of his years as a volunteer at the Sundance resort, where he said there tend to be more locals, both working and attending, than at other places in the festival. His seniority as a volunteer means he has more flexibility to do the volunteer work he prefers, which includes acting as an usher in the complex.

"The ushers can stay and watch the movie, and that's the fun". Taylor said. "So I'll watch several movies when I'm working as an usher."

Volunteers also get free tickets for public screenings, depending on the number of hours they work, and some of the benefits of the work go beyond the official Sundance experience.

"I enjoy skiing, so I go there and often ski before the turn, and that's great," Taylor said. "And the people are just wonderful … They make friends with people with whom they share things in common, and I think that when we serve together in a different community, we make that kind of friends."

The year that Hilton volunteered was only during the second half of the festival: volunteers can choose to work in the registration program, which offers flexible programming of at least 24 hours; Full-Time, which requires working every day of the festival; and Half-Fest, which is a hybrid of the two.

Hilton enjoyed his volunteer experience at the festival and would recommend it to Utah County moviegoers interested in the event.

"When people tell me about the festival, the festival says," What is the best way to do it? "Well, if you have the time and flexibility to volunteer, do it," Hilton said. "Because I think that has been the most rewarding experience for me at the festival, just because, one, you can see many things, and you also get a different and more complete flavor of what the festival is like." [19659002] Applications to become Volunteers usually open in mid-August before the festival the following year. You can find more information at sundance.org/festivals/sundance-film-festival/volunteer.

Derrick Clements is an independent art reporter, podcaster, columnist and film critic. Follow him on Twitter @derrific and find all his work on derrickclements.com.

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