The Palm Springs Inter­na­tion­al Film Fes­ti­val will roll out the red car­pet on Jan­u­ary 2, but before then vol­un­teers are work­ing tire­less­ly behind the scenes to ensure all details are in place. By the time inter­na­tion­al media is report­ing celebri­ty sight­ings at local haunts, more than 600 vol­un­teers will be in place to help orches­trate one of the largest film fes­ti­vals in North America.

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

Our vol­un­teers are some­what the unsung heroes of our fes­ti­vals,” 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. “Most of them are retired res­i­dents and snow­birds, and many are in their 10th or 20th year of help­ing us make the Palm Springs Inter­na­tion­al Film Fes­ti­val the world-renowned event that it is.”

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.

Even with the Fes­ti­val at five area venues, trans­porta­tion is often an issue for seniors on fixed incomes, many of whom can­not dri­ve,” said Catharine Reed, Pro­gram Direc­tor 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 26th annu­al Palm Springs Inter­na­tion­al Film Fes­ti­val runs Jan­u­ary 2–12, 2015, wel­com­ing about 135,000 atten­dees and screen­ing more than 192 fea­ture films and doc­u­men­taries from 65 coun­tries. The Awards Gala, held on Jan­u­ary 3, 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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