Cel­e­brat­ing 25 years, orga­niz­ers of the Palm Springs Inter­na­tion­al Film Fes­ti­val attribute much of the event’s suc­cess to vol­un­teers that work tire­less­ly through the hol­i­days. Hun­dreds of them will do it again – many for their 10th or 20th year – in time to roll out the red car­pet for open­ing night Jan­u­ary 3. A $25,000 grant from the Auen Foun­da­tion helps to fund the recruit­ment, train­ing, man­age­ment and reten­tion of near­ly 600 vol­un­teers that are part of the Festival’s Senior and Active Retire­ment Program.

To say that our vol­un­teers are an invalu­able resource is quite an under­state­ment,” 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, which is held in June.

Pri­or to the Fes­ti­val, vol­un­teers assist the small, year-round staff by answer­ing phones, per­form­ing cler­i­cal func­tions, dis­trib­ut­ing posters and rack cards and in the pro­gram­ming depart­ment, cat­a­logu­ing entries. 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. For the third year, Rochelle Koch is return­ing as a mem­ber of the sea­son­al staff serv­ing as the Fes­ti­val Vol­un­teer Coordinator.

Although they are sea­son­al posi­tions, in the months lead­ing up to the Fes­ti­val and, of course while it’s ongo­ing, our Vol­un­teer Coor­di­na­tor and her assis­tant are two of the busiest peo­ple on staff, with a vol­un­teer corps of over 600 ded­i­cat­ed vol­un­teers to assem­ble and train,” said Dar­ryl Mac­don­ald, Exec­u­tive and Fes­ti­val Direc­tor of both fes­ti­vals. “We deeply appre­ci­ate the sup­port of an astute fun­der such as the Auen Foun­da­tion. They not only under­stand the impor­tance of vol­un­teers in the day-to-day oper­a­tion of the Fes­ti­vals, they also rec­og­nize the essen­tial role of the Vol­un­teer Coordinator.”

The Auen Foun­da­tion grant is applied to the Vol­un­teer Pro­gram and also par­tial­ly under­writes the dis­tri­b­u­tion of free screen­ing tick­ets to local seniors.

The free tick­ets and the Festival’s free shut­tle bus pro­vide our local seniors more access to this world-class event,” said Catharine Reed, Pro­gram Direc­tor for the Auen Foun­da­tion. “Even with the Fes­ti­val at five area the­atres, trans­porta­tion is often an issue for seniors on fixed incomes, many of whom can­not dri­ve. We are hap­py to see this part­ner­ship with the Palm Springs Inter­na­tion­al Film Fes­ti­val enrich­ing the lives of our senior neighbors.”

The 25th annu­al Palm Springs Inter­na­tion­al Film Fes­ti­val runs Jan­u­ary 3–13, 2014, screen­ing more than 187 films from 60 coun­tries. The Awards Gala, hon­or­ing the year’s cin­e­mat­ic achieve­ments both in front and behind the cam­era, will again wel­come 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 760–322-2930 or 800–898-7256.

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