Volunteers Kick-off the 2010 Celebrations

Volunteers Kick-off the 2010 Celebrations

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A line of Sundance Film Festival volunteers and staff waiting to get into their annual pre-Festival party trailed out onto the snow-dusted plaza in front of the Legacy Lodge at Park City Mountain Resort on Wednesday night. No one seemed to mind the extra few moments they had to admire the building's elaborate external lighting design – a giant panel emblazoned with the Festival theme

("RE") splashed with blue and raspberry spotlights.

Inside, hundreds of enthusiastic volunteers and sleep-deprived staff packed the two-story space. They snacked on hot dogs, chicken-fried-chicken sliders, and creamy macaroni and cheese. The lines at the bar gave alumni volunteers a chance to catch up with one another as they waited for a bottle of Stella Artois or a glass of Absolut Vodka and Shasta tonic.

The crowd on the second floor of the Lodge was dotted with first-year volunteers, beaming in their new, white Kenneth Cole staff and volunteer jackets. A few were plucked briefly from the festivities by a documentary crew working on a short film about youth and volunteering. In a quiet room downstairs, clusters of veteran volunteers sat around small tables and chatted.

Halfway through the evening, the manager of the Volunteer Department, Emily Aagaard, announced the winner of the Gayle Stevens Award, an annual recognition of the outstanding contributions of one Sundance Film Festival volunteer. This year's winner, Cindy Lund, is a familiar face around Sundance Institute, having contributed over 100 hours of volunteer work in just the past year.

The dance floor was still packed at 11:30 when this weary staffer decided to head home for the night, taking one last chicken-fried-chicken slider for the road.

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