Peo­ple are often curi­ous about what goes on behind the scenes at the Palm Springs Inter­na­tion­al Film Fes­ti­val. They want to know what it takes to present more than 180 films from 60 coun­tries in more than 450 sep­a­rate screen­ing events for an enthu­si­as­tic audi­ence of more than 135,000. The answer: vol­un­teers. More than 700 vol­un­teers con­tribute their time and tal­ents every year.

The Auen Foun­da­tion is sup­port­ing this effort with a $25,000 grant to the Festival’s Senior and Active Retire­ment Pro­grams, which aid in the recruit­ment, train­ing, man­age­ment and reten­tion of many of the festival’s volunteers.

Seniors con­tin­ue to enthu­si­as­ti­cal­ly embrace the vol­un­teer oppor­tu­ni­ties at both fes­ti­vals and year-round,” said Har­ri­et Baron, Direc­tor of Devel­op­ment for the Palm Springs Inter­na­tion­al Film Soci­ety, which pro­duces both the Inter­na­tion­al Film Fes­ti­val in Jan­u­ary and the Palm Springs Inter­na­tion­al Short­Fest in June. “The extent to which they have con­tributed to our orga­ni­za­tion is incalculable.”

Pri­or to the Fes­ti­val, vol­un­teers assist the small, year-round staff by answer­ing phones, per­form­ing cler­i­cal func­tions, dis­trib­ut­ing posters and rack cards and cat­a­logu­ing films in the pro­gram­ming depart­ment. Once the City’s pre­mier event is under­way, a com­plex sched­ul­ing sys­tem ensures that vol­un­teers are tak­ing tick­ets at every screen­ing, count­ing bal­lots for the Audi­ence Awards, wel­com­ing guests at Fes­ti­val par­ties and spe­cial events and mak­ing every­one feel like a VIP at the Awards Gala.

We sin­cere­ly thank the Auen Foun­da­tion for sup­port­ing this essen­tial pro­gram, which ensures our senior vol­un­teers are uti­lized effi­cient­ly and are tru­ly made a part of the team that helps run a suc­cess­ful film fes­ti­val,” said Dar­ryl Mac­don­ald, Exec­u­tive and Fes­ti­val Director.

In addi­tion to the Auen Foundation’s sup­port of the vol­un­teer pro­gram, the grant also par­tial­ly under­writes the dis­tri­b­u­tion of free screen­ing tick­ets and the Festival’s free shut­tle ser­vice, which is huge ben­e­fit for local seniors. Baron said the major­i­ty of the view­ing audi­ences are com­prised of local seniors, and retired, active adults also con­tribute to the large out-of-town group business.

Trans­porta­tion is often an issue for seniors on fixed incomes, many of whom can­not dri­ve,” said Catharine Reed, Senior Pro­gram Offi­cer for the Auen Foun­da­tion. “The part­ner­ship with the Palm Springs Inter­na­tion­al Film Fes­ti­val enrich­es the lives of our local seniors by pro­vid­ing them more access to this world-class event.”

The 27th annu­al Palm Springs Inter­na­tion­al Film Fes­ti­val, one of the largest film fes­ti­vals in North Amer­i­ca, runs Jan­u­ary 1–11, 2016. The Awards Gala, held on Sat­ur­day, Jan­u­ary 2, hon­ors cin­e­mat­ic achieve­ments from some of Hollywood’s most cel­e­brat­ed tal­ents. For more infor­ma­tion about the Palm Springs Inter­na­tion­al Film Fes­ti­val or how to vol­un­teer, vis­it or call 760–322-2930 or 800–898-7256.

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