By Melissa Bowers and Brian Marquez
Rebecca Stover, Sundance’s Institute’s longest standing active volunteer, passed away at the age of 65. Rebecca was the epitome of volunteerism and a shining example of what it means to be a Sundance volunteer. Over her nearly 40 years of supporting the Institute, Rebecca volunteered for the Festival, labs, and year-round programming, and she was the recipient of the 2021 Gayle Stevens Volunteer of the Year Award.
Rebecca’s love of storytelling and people started from an early age, when she would help out at the movie theaters her family owned in the Salt Lake City area. In 1978, Rebecca attended her first Festival, which would soon transform into the Sundance Film Festival. She would always tell volunteers and patrons stories about Robert Redford passing out tickets to films in front of the Egyptian Theatre in the ’80s and how the dedication of volunteers and staff over the years shaped the Institute into what it is today.
Rebecca was persistent, dedicated, passionate, and full of love. She welcomed new staff and volunteers with open arms and was always willing to take people under her wing. Shortly before her passing, she said:
“My advice to all the volunteers and employees is when in line for a film, take the time to get to know everyone around you. That also means the people you work alongside, you’ll have an amazing experience if you get close with your co-workers. You need to watch films that you might not normally see, always catch our documentaries, drive for our summer labs, and don’t give up on dreams and remember I love you. Each and everyone of my Sundance Family.”
With Rebecca’s passing, we not only lost a member of our volunteer family, but one of the Institute’s biggest supporters. We hope that each of us can honor her daily by emulating her kindness, compassion, and unconditional love of those around us. Rebecca will be greatly missed.