WE WANT YOU! (to volunteer for the Phoenix Film Festival)

Tiffany 2We sat down with 2012's Volunteer of the Year Copper Wing Award winner Tiffany Hutson, our Volunteer Director, and chat about some neat opportunities to participate in the festival this year.

PFF: Great to see you again, Tiffany! Let's start out with who you are and how you got involved with the festival.

Tiffany: Thanks! It feels good to be back. I actually started out as an intern for the Phoenix Film Festival back in 2010. I am an actress and I was in the school at the time for Special Events Management, and when I went to find an internship I thought the Phoenix Film Festival would be way out of my league. But, I pretty much bugged them until they said yes. I worked solely with the Volunteer Department that year for the 10 Year Anniversary and enjoyed every second of it. I guess they liked me too, because when the Volunteer Director position opened up for the festival the next year they asked me to step in.


PFF: Well, your Volunteer of the Year Award must have shown that they more than like you.


Tiffany: Haha, I guess that's true! I don't think they realized it meant they would be stuck with me forever!


PFF: I'm sure they don't have any objections to that! Now, what does it mean to be the Volunteer Director? What is it that you do for the festival?


Tiffany: Tons of emails. Thankfully, this year I have two interns from ASU helping me out with emailing and other administrative tasks. Basically, before the festival starts I communicate with each department regarding how many volunteers they need during which times of day and I create the schedule accordingly. We have some wonderful volunteers that work with us every year, along with lots of new faces.


PFF: How many volunteers would you say the festival needs every year?


Tiffany: Last year I think the number was around 275.


PFF: What?! That's crazy!


Tiffany: I know! Every single person that works for the festival is a volunteer. It's such a unique festival because we have no paid staff members. Well...except for the Executive Director, Jason. But, he started as a volunteer, so he counts too.


PFF: Why do you think so many people volunteer for this festival?


Tiffany: It's worth it! Majority of our volunteers are local to the Phoenix area and have watched this festival grow throughout the years. The film community in Arizona is a close-knit group of people and the Phoenix Film Festival/International Horror Sci-Fi Film Festival is the biggest celebration of film anywhere in the state. If you love film and you're in Arizona, this is the place to be.


PFF: But why volunteer? Why not just attend the festival?Tiffany 3


Tiffany: Well, I don't want to discourage people from straight up purchasing tickets and attending the festival. But, volunteering allows for the unique experience of interacting directly with filmmakers, guests, VIPs, and fellow film-lovers. Although, I will also say that we have several volunteers who aren't involved in the film community at all. They simply enjoy volunteering with us because we're nice, we're fun, the work isn't incredibly difficult, and it's a great environment to just spend time in.


PFF: So, what is your favorite volunteer position at the festival?


Tiffany: Oh that's not fair! They're all so much fun! Each department has a different personality that fits different kinds of people. But I will say that the only event I make sure I'm 100% available to help out with is Kids' Day. We have an amazing Educational Outreach program and Kids' Day is such a unique, fun experience to be able to help kids discover the art of filmmaking, sometimes for the very first time. Kids' Day is also the only event we accept one-time volunteers for.


PFF: One-time volunteers...meaning?


Tiffany: Every volunteer is required to spend 24 hours volunteering at the festival. The only exception to this is for people who want to volunteer only for the seven hour Kids' Day shift on Saturday, April 6th. It's a great option if you want to volunteer but just don't have the 24 hours available. For volunteering, you'll receive a cool Kids' Day t-shirt along with a pass to see a couple movies at the festival. Our regular volunteers get a festival t-shirt and a pass to the festival that allows them a ticket into any and every screening throughout the whole festival.


PFF: Those are some pretty sweet deals.


Tiffany: I sure think so!


PFF: So, I guess my next question would be who can volunteer?


Tiffany: Anyone! We do ask that you have reliable transportation in order to get to your shifts on time and we prefer that you be at least 18 years old. But we do have a handful of high school students that volunteer with us with their parent's permission every year.


PFF: How would someone who is interested in volunteering get more information?


Tiffany: I would encourage you to visit the Volunteer website - http://www.phoenixfilmfestival.com/volunteers/ - and check out the volunteer information. If you still have questions after reading through everything, then shoot an e-mail to volunteer@phxfilm.com and we'll get back with you.

We actually have our New Volunteer Orientation coming up this Saturday, March 1st at 1:00pm and Saturday, March 22nd at 2:00pm in the Festival Ticket Center next to the Harkins Theater at Scottsdale Rd. and the 101.

We hope to see you there!