Volunteer

Volunteers are the lifeblood of Sundance Institute. We rely on dedicated volunteers from around the world to generously devote their time and commitment to the Sundance Film Festival, our summer labs in Utah, our year-round work at our Los Angeles, Park City, and New York City offices, and all of our many programs that support independent storytelling.

Volunteer for the Sundance Film Festival

Want to join us? Volunteering for the Sundance Film Festival is truly a one-of-a-kind experience. Every year, volunteers (most of whom return year after year) help create a global platform to celebrate independent film. We’re looking for volunteers to assist in live and digital aspects of the Festival. The real benefit of volunteering isn’t the perks, or even the films—it’s being a part of a passionate community. Please read the following information and FAQ specific to the 2021 Festival before applying. If you have any questions that are not answered here, please contact us at volunteers@sundance.org or (435) 776-7870.

APPLY NOW

  • 1. Choose Your Commitment Level: Read over the volunteer FAQ and decide on the level of commitment you would like to make before applying.

    2. Apply to Volunteer: The volunteer application for the 2021 Festival is now open.To submit a volunteer application, click here! Please note that applying to volunteer does not guarantee you will be offered a role, and that the 2021 Festival will be very different than in years past.
    If you have any questions, please email us at volunteers@sundance.org.

    3. Complete the Interview: After submitting your application, you will receive a Google Form that will serve as your initial interview. This document allows us to learn a little bit about you and better understand where you will fit into the Festival.

    4. Receive a Specific Assignment: When your interests and the Festival needs align, a volunteer coordinator will reach out to discuss a volunteer assignment, typically by early December, including outlining the position dates and requirements.

    5. Sign the Volunteer Agreement: Your volunteer coordinator will email you a volunteer agreement. You must sign the agreement to confirm your position.

    6. Get Your Schedule

    • Sign-Up Volunteers, once instructed, will log in to Shiftboard (our scheduling platform) and sign up for shifts, making sure to sign up for a minimum of 24 hours.

    7. Check In and Receive Training: You will check in before your first shift or training.

    8. Festival Time: Enjoy volunteering, and experiencing the Sundance Film Festival.

    • Applicants can choose from two different types of Festival volunteer experiences: sign-up, and full-time. Each experience has a different level of commitment. Remember, all volunteers must be 18 years of age or older to volunteer.

      1. Sign-Up Volunteers (24+ hours)
      • Sign-up volunteers have a flexible shift schedule and get to pick their own shifts (based on availability). You will be required to pick up three to four shifts to meet your minimum 24 hours.(Training hours do not count toward the 24-hour minimum requirement or benefits.
      3. Full-Time Volunteers (Everyday Volunteer)
      • Full-time volunteers have shifts every day of the Festival. Your schedule will be preset, so you'll know your shifts before you arrive.
  • We are currently working to determine what, if any, volunteer benefits may be available for the 2021 Festival. With this in mind, we ask that volunteers participate in the Festival in the spirit of service to support the mission of Sundance Institute. We need volunteers now more than ever to support storytelling and the voices of our artists, and we ask that volunteers be flexible and understand how much we appreciate their service, even though we may not be able to provide tangible benefits for the 2021 Festival. Please know we will continue to work to provide benefits and will update volunteers throughout the planning process.


  • Explore the many hardworking teams that make our world-class Festival possible. We can’t wait for you to join us!

    Artist Relations Act as a liaison and provide guest services for filmmakers, artists, and other guests (long hours).
    Corporate Relations Act as a liaison and provide guest services for corporate sponsors.
    Information Services Provide customer service and general Festival information to patrons at information booths and other locations.
    Logistics Coordinate logistics for radios, equipment, and uniforms.
    Production Help with behind-the-scenes setup, maintenance, and teardown of the Festival.
    Tech Services Help set up, troubleshoot, and break down technology at the Festival.
    Theatre Box Office Distribute, collect, and account for all tickets at theaters.
    Theatre Operations Take tickets and assist with crowd control.
    Ticketing Assist in filling ticket orders, answering patrons' questions about films and theaters, and providing customer service.
    Volunteer FLEX Volunteers assigned to this role will be shifted throughout various positions to fill in for cancellations and no-shows, OR they may be reassigned completely to one role for the duration of the Festival if help is needed on a particular team. FLEX volunteers must be willing to perform any role, inside or outside, and must be willing to rotate or be reassigned completely.
    Digital Volunteer remotely from the comfort of your own home!
  • If you volunteered during the last Festival, you will receive an email reminder when the application opens for the next Festival. If you missed the last Festival but volunteered in years past, you will need to check this webpage for the application.

    The application process is entirely online. You will need to fill out an application with your current Shiftboard email (just email volunteers@sundance.org if you don't remember it!). Please make sure to fill out all areas of the application.

    Please make sure to check your email! Email is our main method of communication.

    If you have questions, just email us at volunteers@sundance.org or call us at (435) 776-7870.

  • General Volunteer Questions:

    What will the Festival look like in 2021?

    Please take a moment to read the Festival update from Tabitha Jackson, Director of the Sundance Film Festival, published on June 29, 2020. You can review the update here.

    What are the dates of the 2021 Festival?

    The 2021 Sundance Film Festival will begin on January 28, 2021. We are planning live elements until February 1, while digital elements may extend until February 3. Volunteer dates may be extended further, and your volunteer coordinator will provide you with the dates of the volunteer position when you are contacted.

    What if I don’t feel comfortable or am unable to participate in the 2021 Festival?

    If you don’t feel comfortable or are unable to travel to the Festival, please do not worry. It is of the utmost importance that you keep open and honest communication with the Volunteer Resources Team so that you can return with the appropriate standing for the 2022 Festival. We ask that all volunteers communicate as much as possible during the Festival planning process. If you are unable to participate, please let us know by emailing us and completing this survey. This survey is optional but will help us to collect information regarding participation as we plan for the future.

    What if I am unsure if I can participate in the 2021 Festival?

    If you think you might be able to join us, go ahead and complete the application. If you need to cancel, work with your volunteer coordinator to understand the late cancellation deadline. We understand this is a very different year, and will work with volunteers to find the best solutions in the event of cancellations or unforeseen circumstances.

    What about alumni priority?

    We strive to honor your alumni priority and will continue to place alumni volunteers in positions first and foremost. However, with an evolving Festival, position availability may vary. While we will work our hardest to find a position for everyone, we cannot guarantee placement at this time. If we are unable to place alumni volunteers, we will continue to honor alumni status for the 2022 Festival.

    What happens if I can’t be placed in my previous volunteer position?

    In the event that you cannot be placed in your previous volunteer position, our team will let you know and will work with you to find another position if possible. We ask that all volunteers be flexible when it comes to discussing volunteer positions. We track the positions that volunteers are in from year to year, and we will do our best to honor your previous position.

    Have the volunteer types and commitment levels changed?

    Yes, This year we are not offering Half-Fest opportunities; volunteers can choose to be either Full-Time or Sign-Up. Hours may vary depending on the position.

    What are important deadlines for the year?

    • Application Open: September 2020
    • Alumni Priority Deadline: Friday October 2, 2020
    • Volunteer Placement Calls: November 2020
    • Application Deadline: December 2020
    • Late Cancellation/Last Commitment Deadline: TBA after Thanksgiving

    What will the onboarding process be like for the 2021 Festival?

    As always, once our team of seasonal staff start, we will begin to reach out and make calls for placement. We are planning to dedicate extra time on calls to ensure that all alumni interested in participating understand the changes and differences in volunteer positions. We ask that all volunteers make themselves available for such discussions and remain flexible with expectations as we work together to bring the Festival to life. We are expecting this process to take longer than in previous years so that we can communicate with everyone. Volunteer agreements will likely be sent later than usual.

    What should I know about in-person versus digital volunteer opportunities?

    In-person opportunities may be available in a limited capacity. We are reviewing the possibility of lodging but are unable to guarantee Festival lodging to anyone for the 2021 Festival at this time. While all are welcome to join in-person opportunities, we ask that all volunteers who have to travel to Utah first consider digital or local volunteering opportunities as a way to stay involved. Digital opportunities may allow volunteers to participate from home. We are reviewing digital requirements at this time, but volunteers may be asked to provide their own equipment and be tech savvy in order to volunteer in this capacity.

    What are the volunteer benefits for SFF 2021?

    We are currently working to determine what, if any, volunteer benefits would be available for the 2021 Festival. With this in mind, we ask that volunteers participate in the festival in the spirit of service to support the mission of Sundance Institute. We need volunteers now more than ever to support storytelling and the voices of our artists, and we ask that volunteers be flexible and understand how much we appreciate their service, even though we may not be able to provide tangible benefits for the 2021 Festival. Please know we will continue to work to provide benefits, and will update volunteers throughout the planning process.

    Application Process

    I'd like to apply. Will you consider my resume?

    No. Volunteers will only be considered if they have submitted a full volunteer application online.

    In-Person Volunteer Opportunity Questions

    What procedures are being put in place for safety and health in regards to COVID-19?

    Health and safety are our top priorities when planning in-person aspects of the Festival. We are currently working to evaluate in-person Festival locations to create cleaning schedules and safety procedures to help ensure the health and safety of all participating. Additionally, we will be adhering to guidelines relevant to in-person locations. We will be sure to communicate procedures being put in place as we get closer to the Festival.

    Will masks be required?

    Yes, masks will be required for everyone while on site during the Festival.

    Will the Festival supply Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)?

    We do plan to make PPE available for our volunteers, including masks and sanitizer. However, volunteers are encouraged to bring their own masks and personal use sanitizer throughout the Festival.

    Will I have to have my temperature taken and symptoms checked?

    Yes, we are currently planning for all staff, contractors, and volunteers to have their temperature checked before shifts. Additionally, you may be asked to sign documents indicating that you are not displaying symptoms and/or have not been in contact with anyone that may be symptomatic or tested positive for COVID-19. This is subject to change depending on the conditions in January 2021.

    How should I plan to travel to the Festival?

    If you are planning to travel to the Festival to volunteer, we first ask that you evaluate participating in a digital capacity or via local volunteer opportunities. Any travel requirements or restrictions for participants are up to the discretion of the individual. We are unable to advise on international and domestic travel as it applies to COVID-19. We will message out information relevant to the state of Utah as it is applicable, but we cannot advise on travel methods.

    How can I plan for lodging for the Festival?

    If you are planning to travel and lodge in the surrounding cities for the Festival, we first ask that you evaluate participating in a digital capacity or local areas. We are evaluating if we are able to provide Festival lodging, but it may be unlikely at this time. Volunteers who find their own lodging are encouraged to find housing with flexible cancellation options in the event that conditions do not allow for robust in-person activities.

    What other locations outside of Utah can we expect?

    The Festival is currently having talks with cinemas around the country to see how we can bring the Festival to different communities. As we learn more about this, we will be sure to let you know what opportunities may be available in your area. Please note that we will notify you based on the address you list on the volunteer application.

    Digital Volunteer Opportunity Questions

    Can I be both an in-person and digital volunteer?

    Unfortunately, no. Volunteers will need to choose between participating in- person or digitally, and cannot commit to both. However, you can switch between being a digital or in-person volunteer before the Festival by speaking with a volunteer coordinator.

    What requirements are there to be a digital volunteer?

    We are currently reviewing requirements for digital volunteering. At this time, digital volunteers may be asked to provide or have access to the following things in order to participate. This is subject to change as we plan further. Requirements may include but are not limited to:

    • 3g or better internet access
    • Personal laptop/computer, with external accessories as preferred
    • Flexibility with hours during the Festival
    • Flexibility with training timelines may be required to participate several weeks before the Festival as training and digital shifts may start as early as December.
    • Familiarity with technology

    How do I choose between volunteering digitally or in-person?

    Each person should decide the opportunity that is best for them. We ask that anyone who would have to travel to a Festival location consider volunteering digitally first. If you don’t feel comfortable participating in person or digitally, please feel free to reach out. We understand that we may not be able to find a volunteer position for everyone, and we will work to keep volunteers in good standing for future Festivals.

    Will the benefits be the same for digital and in-person?

    We strive to make things as equitable as possible and plan to provide the same benefits for digital volunteers and in-person volunteers. Please see the benefits section above.

    How do I get in touch with the Volunteer Department?

    We invite you to contact us if you have questions that are not addressed in this FAQ.

    Email: volunteers@sundance.org
    Volunteer Hotline: (435) 776-7870
    General Sundance Institute Inquiries: (435) 658-3456
    Office Hours: Monday-Friday, 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. (MST)


Volunteer with Sundance Institute

We look for volunteers throughout the year to help our programs run smoothly—like our artist labs, which help independent directors, screenwriters, producers, composers, theatre makers, and virtual reality and new media creators bring their stories to life. And we can always use some extra assistance at our international festivals in London and Hong Kong, and in our offices in Park City, Los Angeles, and New York City. Select a program to learn more about available opportunities and how to apply.

  • The Institute’s Labs take place throughout the year at the Sundance Mountain Resort in Utah. Volunteers play a fundamental role in supporting the labs during the summer months.

    Working for the labs requires a significant time commitment, but provides a rare opportunity to witness the creative process and to experience a range of Institute programs. Volunteers work six days a week with rotating days off during the month. The length of the work day varies throughout the program. During setup, teardown, and heavy arrival and departure days, staff and volunteers work an average of 14 hours per day. There are two halves to our summer labs and, based on availability, you can apply either for one half or the whole summer. Volunteers receive air travel, ground transportation to and from the Salt Lake City airport, lodging, and meals.

    All volunteers are required to live on the mountain for the duration of the Labs and all Volunteers must be 21 years of age or older and hold a valid U.S. driver’s license.

    Volunteer positions assist our Lab operations team to provide a welcoming experience for our artists. These positions are several weeks long and may span over several different labs. If you have any questions, please email us at volunteers@sundance.org.

    The Institute’s Labs take place throughout the year at the Sundance Mountain Resort in Utah. Volunteers play a fundamental role in supporting the labs during the summer months.

    Working for the labs requires a significant time commitment, but provides a rare opportunity to witness the creative process and to experience a range of Institute programs. Volunteers work six days a week with rotating days off during the month. The length of the work day varies throughout the program. During setup, teardown, and heavy arrival and departure days, staff and volunteers work an average of 14 hours per day. There are two halves to our summer labs and, based on availability, you can apply either for one half or the whole summer. Volunteers receive air travel, ground transportation to and from the Salt Lake City airport, lodging, and meals.

    All volunteers are required to live on the mountain for the duration of the Labs and all Volunteers must be 21 years of age or older and hold a valid U.S. driver’s license.

    Volunteer positions assist our Lab operations team to provide a welcoming experience for our artists. These positions are several weeks long and may span over several different labs. Carefully review the information below before submitting an application. Applicants must be available for the duration listed for the position(s) being applied for. If you have any questions, please email us at volunteers@sundance.org.

    Labs Volunteer, Administration/General Support | 2 Positions

    Application Deadline: Friday, March 20, 2020

    Dates: 5/11/20 - 6/27/20 AND/OR 7/3/20 - 8/5/20

    This volunteer position oversees the day-to-day operations of the on-site labs office (the yurt) such as greet and assist participants, help with check-ins, answer the yurt phone, and maintain general office operations. Additionally, this volunteer position assists and has a general knowledge of all aspects of the lab in areas of guest relations, lodging, meals and events, ground transportation, production, etc. to support on busy days and when staff have days-off. This position involves heavy data entry.

    Labs Volunteer, Meals and Events | 1 or 2 Position

    Application Deadline: Friday, March 20, 2020

    Dates: 5/11/20 - 6/27/20 AND/OR 7/3/20 - 8/5/20

    This volunteer position assists with the day-to-day operations of Meals & Events including overseeing break stations for all events and screenings, monitoring inventory of supplies, frequent runs to town in an Institute provided minivan, assisting with receipt and bill reconciliation, setup and teardown for receptions, parties, and offsite catered events. They also assist the Labs Coordinator, and Production with setup and teardown of facilities related to workshops, events, and orientations as needed. This position is a good fit for someone who enjoys working independently, and who adjusts easily between periods of intense work and being “on-call”.

    Labs Volunteer, Ground Transportation Supervisor | 2 Positions

    Application Deadline: Friday, March 20, 2020

    Dates: 5/17/20 – 6/27/20 AND/OR 7/3/20 - 8/5/20

    This volunteer position assists the Labs Coordinator, and Ground Dispatch with driver oversight and coverage of either the A.M. (7am-4pm) or P.M (4pm-1am) shifts on a daily basis. All driver responsibilities as needed. Previous experience as a driver strongly preferred.

    Driver Volunteers

    Application Deadline: Friday, March 20, 2020

    Available Dates:

    • 6 drivers needed from May 19 - June 27, 2020
    • 6 drivers needed from July 3 - August 4, 2020

    This volunteer driver position makes daily airport runs (3 hrs round trip), shuttle runs around the Provo Canyon area, and weekly purchase runs into town. They also assist in setup and teardown of venues, production space and in their spare time can also assist production. Volunteer drivers can apply for either one half or both halves of the summer.

    Experience & Skills Needed

    • Must be comfortable driving a minivan with up to 7 passengers, small SUV and/or 15-passenger van on narrow, steep, curving mountain roads
    • Must be willing to abide by all posted speed limits, parking restrictions, and the Sundance Institute’s policy on drinking and driving
    • Must be willing to adhere to Sundance Institute’s procedures in the event of an accident
    • Must be willing to represent Sundance Institute in a positive, professional manner
    • Must be personable, adaptable, outgoing and willing to take on any task
    • Knowledge of the area (Salt Lake City, Orem, Provo, Park City, Sundance Resort) or willingness to learn
    • Excellent customer service, interpersonal communication, and prioritization abilities required
    • Valid driver’s license, 21 years of age, and successful completion of DMV background check required

    Production Assistant: Directors Lab | 4 Positions

    Application Deadline: Sunday, March 1, 2020

    Dates: May 23 - June 16, 2020

    Production Service Learning position will learn the basic skills needed to PA within the Grip and Electric Department, Art Department, Sound Department, Production Department, Camera Department, Editorial and Script Supervising Department on a Fiction Film. Must have experience as a PA on set.

    Production Assistant: Theatre Lab | 4 Positions

    Application Deadline: Sunday, March 29, 2020

    Dates: July 5 - July 26, 2020

    Production Assistants will be an integral participant in the process of developing a new play. The Theatre Lab is an opportunity to see the creative process in action while contributing the journey of projects for the stage. Candidates must have an interest and experience in live theatre.

    Apply Now

  • Sundance Film Festival: London

    The volunteer application for the Sundance Film Festival: London is now closed. If you are interested in volunteering in 2020, please contact volunteers@sundance.org in early March 2020 for more information.

    Volunteers for the London festival do not receive travel reimbursement or lodging.

    Sundance Film Festival: Hong Kong

    For information regarding our festival in Hong Kong, please contact volunteers@sundance.org.

  • Beyond our Festivals, Sundance Institute has screenings, events, and programs that rely on the help of volunteers to make them happen. These opportunities are part of our year-round volunteer program and involve one-day events and projects. These opportunities are based out of our offices in Park City, Los Angeles, and New York City, and typically last between four and six hours. These opportunities often occur throughout the year but are more common in the months leading up to the Festival.

    • Summer Film Series in Utah
    • In-office administrative help in Park City and Los Angeles
    • Theatre Program Events in New York
    • New Frontier Program Events in Los Angeles
    • And more!

    If you are interested, reach out to volunteers@sundance.org.

  • In addition to our Festivals and labs, we also hold screenings and sessions across the country. Volunteers are needed to assist in providing these experiences to the public. Some cities we typically visit are:

    • Akron, OH
    • Albuquerque, NM
    • Charlotte, NC
    • Detroit, MI
    • Macon, GA
    • Miami, FL
    • Philadelphia, PA
    • St. Paul, MN

    To join our email list to learn more about upcoming volunteer opportunities in your area, please email us at volunteers@sundance.org.

  • The Institute provides internships in our Park City, Los Angeles, and New York City offices. All available internship opportunities are posted on our job board. For more information, please email us at volunteers@sundance.org.

Contact Us

If you have questions that are not addressed above, please call us at (435) 776-7870 Monday–Friday, 9:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m. MT, or email us at volunteers@sundance.org.