No accommodation is provided by the fest. One need to take care of his/her accommodation. Very few Full Time Volunteers may receive accommodation by the fest. Find and book your accommodation well in advance as it gets really difficult to find a place close to the fest. There are basically three places where Sundance Film Festival takes place in UTAH i.e. Salt Lake City, Park City and Sundance Resort. The main location or where the main action happens is Park City. Its best to book accommodation where you are assigned as a volunteer. I stayed at a lodge nearby Library Theatre.
There is no full time meals provided by the fest but there is a free refreshments (snacks/coffee/noodles) room open from 8 PM to 6 PM at Sundance Film Festival Volunteer Hub located at Park City Marriott.
During the Sundance Film Festival, free shuttle bus service is available for everyone in Park City. Bus service is frequent and runs between the festival locations/theatres. Great bus service as I used to catch a bus back to my lodge late at night around 2 AM.
MY ROLE AS A VOLUNTEER
MY VOLUNTEER EXPERIENCE
As mentioned above, I was a Sign Up Volunteer. So I chose two different shifts on alternate days to accommodate the films/experiences I want to catch. First one was a late night shift from 7 PM to 2 AM. Second one was an afternoon shift from 1 PM to 7.30 PM. Late night shift was not so crowded except the popular screenings. Afternoon shift had more action and big crowd. I enjoyed the afternoon shift more. I felt positive vibes from some colleagues and cold vibes from some. My first day as a volunteer was surreal. Even in my wildest dreams, I never thought I will attend the Sundance Film Festival, let alone as a volunteer. During a week as a volunteer I worked in almost all positions from Ushering patrons, Manage lines, take tickets, count patrons, check credentials, hand out ballots, work on radio, guard the door etc. The thing is If some foreigner come to India to do a volunteer work, we would do our best to make him/her feel at home. I agree that the Indian hospitality is a huge benchmark but in my mind I was expecting somewhat on the same lines which was wrong on my part as I learnt, it is more of a corporate culture in USA where one paves his/her own path. Gradually, I learnt the ropes and start enjoying the work. Special shout out to an old lady in our team. She is a genuine, hard working and really nice person. I would strongly recommend the volunteer experience or Sundance experience to all Cinephiles and rest can form an opinion based upon my post!
MY SUNDANCE FILM FESTIVAL EXPERIENCE
Filmmaker Lodge: A cosy studio where filmmakers/actors/artists/journalists come and interact about cinema.
Jane Fonda In Five Acts: The first film I saw at the festival. A Documentary film on the legendary American Film Actress “Jane Fonda”. I really enjoyed it.
MEMORABLE MOMENTS FROM MY SUNDANCE EXPERIENCE
Incidents which left an impression on my mind. Good, Bad and Ugly:
I catch an evening flight from LA to Salt Lake City. I experienced/witnessed snowfall for the first time in my life when I exit the Salt Lake City Airport. The moment I set my foot outside the airport, snowflakes welcomed me. It was a magical feeling.
As A Volunteer: I had goosebumps inducing experience when I had to shout (due to lack of mic) in a big hall full of people to convey an important message.
As A Volunteer: When I had to tell a guy in a stern voice to not use his mobile phone during the film screening after being told twice nicely. He did not like it and said something nasty under his breath.
My Encounter with Robert Redford (See Below)
It was snowing that night and I was unable to find the restaurant. So I asked a guy loading some goods in his car. He offered me a ride to find the restaurant together and I get into his car. He started the conversation with the usual “Where are you from?” but soon followed by “How much does the air ticket cost from India to here?” “Why are you volunteering?” “Your english is pretty good” “Oh I forgot you people were enslaved by the British” I felt negative vibes and wanted to get out ASAP. Luckily my net started working again and it turns out we were on the wrong path. After hearing the Google Maps Navigation Voice, he fumbled “Oh okay it was on the other side”. Finally, we reached the restaurant. It was a spooky incident to say the least.
It was a Volunteer appreciation day. A day when people appreciate the efforts of volunteers. During the day, many people walked up to me and thanked me for my service. It felt good to know your efforts are making some difference.
When I met the only volunteer from India (as far as I know but he is living in US for a while now) at Volunteer appreciation party. It was a fun event and felt good to meet fellow countryman.
MY ENCOUNTER WITH ROBERT REDFORD
It was my 4th day as a volunteer. I was doing the Afternoon shift that day. Our supervisor assigned the job to every team member for the screening of “Akicita: The Battle of Standing Rock”. A documentary film on Standing Rock protest. I along with another guy was given the job at the exit door. Our role is to not let any person(apart from the film’s crew) inside the theatre and stamp every person’s hand who leaves the theatre. It gets quite hectic during the popular screenings. On that day, it gets more hectic when we have been told that Robert Redford(Legendary Actor and Co-Founder of Sundance Film Festival) will be attending the screening and people may try to enter sneakily to meet Robert Redford. So we should be extra alert. People start lining up and we assume our position. Theatre gets full pretty soon. Finally, Robert Redford arrived with his entourage and entered the theatre. Shortly after, Mr. Redford came out(without his entourage) and asked me “Son, where’s the bathroom?” as I was the only person at the door (My Colleague himself went to the bathroom) and I replied. He thanked me before leaving. The guy with me on the duty returned back and I told him about the incident and he got really excited as he is a BIG fan of Robert Redford. He prepared himself to talk to Mr. Redford when he will return from the bathroom but unfortunately, this time he entered with his entourage. After the screening, he thanked everyone before leaving. It was surely a story to remember. He came across as a humble and gentle person. It was a surreal feeling to see him so up close and personal. I really liked some of his works from All The President’s Men, Butch Cassidy And Sundance Kid, The Sting, Quiz Show.