As celebrities, filmmakers, and the general public of filmgoers converge on the 31st Annual Palm Springs International Film Festival (PSIFF), it will be the role of about 800 volunteers to make the film festival an unforgettable experience. More than 135,000 people are expected at this year’s festival, which touts nearly 200 films from 81 countries.
“With so many moving parts, the festival would not be possible without our dedicated volunteer corps and the support of generous donors, such as the Auen Foundation,” said Kristin Bloomer, Sponsorship and Development Manager for the Palm Springs International Film Society, which produces both the International Film Festival in January and the Palm Springs International ShortFest in June.
A $40,000 grant from the Auen Foundation supports the recruitment, training, management and retention of festival volunteers, 90 percent of which are seniors participating in the Festival’s Senior and Active Retirement Programs. The grant also offsets the cost of film festival tickets for senior volunteers, senior centers and community groups.
“We believe this 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 and getting them involved in their community,” said Sherrie Auen, Program Director for the Auen Foundation. “Volunteering helps people feel valued, and our seniors have so much to contribute.”
Prior to the PSIFF, volunteers assist the small, year-round festival staff by answering phones, performing clerical functions, distributing posters and rack cards, cataloguing films, and even participating in the screening process. Once Palm Springs’ 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 Film Awards Gala.
The 31st Annual Palm Springs International Film Festival, one of the largest film festivals in North America, runs January 2–13, 2020. The Film Awards Gala, held on Thursday, 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 www.psfilmfest.org or call 760–778-8979 or 800–898-7256.