Institute Lab Volunteers
The Institute's Labs take place throughout the year in Utah and elsewhere nationally, as well as internationally. Volunteers play a key role in the Institute's Labs in Utah during the summer months, from joining the film production crew during the Directors Lab to working as drivers for our Lab participants on the mountain. Utah-based volunteers also provide administrative, venue, and event assistance for the summer Labs. Other Labs occasionally require the assistance of volunteers, and typically special recruiting is done for these instances.
Production Crew Volunteers
Skilled film production crew members are used as Assistant Camera operators, Crew Chiefs, Grip and Electrics, Sound Mixers, On-Set Dressers, Script Supervisors, and Production Assistants during the June Directors Lab in Utah.
How to Apply: Production crew volunteers are recruited only, and no unsolicited applications are accepted.
Lab Driver Volunteers
Volunteering as a driver for the summer Labs may require a time commitment of a weekend, a week, a month, or longer during the summer. Drivers get the unique opportunity to witness the creative process and to experience a range of Institute programs by interacting with the Lab participants.
Driver Volunteers receive the added benefits of shared accommodations in rustic mountain homes during their time on the mountain, meals, and travel reimbursements. Driver Volunteers work five to six days each week with days off rotating during the month (for drivers with longer commitments). The length of work days vary for our drivers and the work is diverse. During setup, tear down, and heavy arrival and departure days, staff work 14 to 18 hours per day. Drivers make daily airport runs, shuttle runs around the Provo Canyon area, and runs to and from local shoots. Drivers must have a valid driver's license, be 21 years of age, and have a good driving record.
How to Apply: Applications for Lab Drivers are accepted from late January to late March. Please submit a cover letter and resume to firstname.lastname@example.org. Final selections are made in April for drivers who start in June.
The Institute Labs that take place in the summer utilize volunteers to help with administrative tasks, with venue setup and teardown, and to assist with evening events. These volunteers are locally-based. No housing is provided for these volunteers, and a meal is provided only if the volunteer works a shift longer than four hours.
How to Apply: Applications for local Support Volunteers are accepted from late January to late May. Please submit a cover letter and resume to email@example.com.
"What would you discuss if you had an hour of unadulterated time with an Oscar-winning cinematographer? I would recommend you start thinking now of something more interesting than the weather, because if you're lucky enough to be a driver at a Sundance Institute Lab this is a very real predicament. Aside from the Monaco Grand Prix, the Lab is probably the best place to be a driver. The motto at the Lab is 'make mistakes.' Now, this doesn't actually pertain to the drivers (it is best to get everyone to the right place), but it does speak volumes about the atmosphere on the mountain. Everyone is here to learn and grow. That includes the drivers. You can't help but pick up a thing or two while watching a director at work or listening to an Advisor's Q&A after their screening. Even though driving is what you are there to do, it is not all you are allowed to do. Your experience on the mountain can be as expansive as you make it. Use your free time to help the crew or hike to the waterfall. Use that drive up to location to discuss the state of the film industry or the state of Utah. The Lab is one of the last bastions of hope for visual storytelling, it is a place untarnished by greed and the pursuit of the four-quadrant holy grail . OK, sure, this may sound a touch highfalutin, but after a month at altitude, I promise you'll feel similarly high-minded about the experience!" -Emma Fletcher, 2009 May/June Labs Driver
"It takes months-and a change in altitude-to realize how lucky you are to have been a part of the Sundance Institute Labs. As you whirl down the mountain that final time, you feel like you're leaving your home and your family behind. Sundance has created this surreal environment of positive creative energy, and being immersed in it is inspiring. The bonds you create are real and plentiful; the two people closest to you may easily be an Oscar-winning Advisor and a local deli girl. The least enticing situations often prove the most valuable. What, driving to and from the airport doesn't sound like fun to you? Think about it: what better way is there to get to know someone than on the hour drive across Utah? Not thrilled by the early shift? Get off by lunch and spend your day helping out on set or hiking Mount Timpanogos (you know vacationers pay big bucks for this stuff, right?). Who wants to be stuck on a mountain in Utah all summer? You do! Why do you think all these people come back every year and work for free? Watch L.A. Confidential next to its director; listen to that amazing actor (and your new friend) perform a reading of a Fellow's (another new friend) script; take a screenwriting workshop with the guy who wrote Rebel Without a Cause. I'm getting nostalgic just writing this! This is a family you want to be a part of and I guarantee this will be one of the most worthwhile experiences you've ever had. Sweet Pear, over and out." -Charlie Birns, 2008 May/June Labs Driver