About Volunteering

Sundance Institute relies on the generosity and dedication of thousands of volunteers year-round. We seek volunteers locally, nationally, and internationally who share a commitment to supporting independent film and theatre. Volunteers are vital to all of the Institute's programs, including the Sundance Film Festival; the Labs of Feature Film, Theatre, Film Music, and Documentary Film Programs; and year-round in our Los Angeles, Park City, and New York City offices (just to name a few).

Contact Us

If you have questions that are not addressed on these Volunteer pages, please contact us Monday–Friday, 9:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m. MST at 435-776-7870 or email us: volunteers@sundance.org.

How To Volunteer for the Sundance Film Festival

Every year, more than 2,000 volunteers help create a global platform for independent film. Volunteers are needed to assist in all areas of the Sundance Film Festival—from theater entrances to shuttle stops. Of course, there are exciting benefits such as being among the first audiences to see world premieres of the best new independent films. But the real benefits of volunteering aren't things, or even films—they're the experiences. If you're ready for a one-of-a-kind experience, read on and apply to join us in Utah this January!

The application for Sundance Film Festival 2018 is now closed. If you have any questions about volunteering, please send an email to volunteers@sundance.org or call 435-776-7870. We appreciate your interest and encourage you to apply in the future. Applications generally open in mid-August for the following year's Festival.

  • 1. Learn More: Read over the Volunteer Requirements and Benefits and decide on the type and level of commitment you would like to make before applying

    2. Apply to Volunteer: The volunteer application generally opens for about two months, starting in mid-August for the following year's festival.

    3. Discuss Your Application: When we review your application, we'll email you to set up a call and discuss possibilities. Applying to volunteer does not guarantee you will be offered a role, as we tend to receive over 3,000 applications for just 2,000 positions.

    4. Receive a Specific Assignment: When a volunteer's interests and the Festival's needs fit, volunteers are offered a volunteer assignment with a Festival Department, usually by early December. All details are discussed on the phone and confirmed via email.

    5. Get Your Schedule

    • Sign-Up Volunteers will log onto Shiftboard and sign up for shifts, making sure to sign up for a minimum of 24 hours.
    • Half-Fest Volunteers and Full-Time Volunteers will have their schedules set by the Volunteer Department and be able to access it via Shiftboard.

    6. Learn, Check-In, and Festival! All volunteers come to check-in just before volunteering to get their Festival Credentials, uniforms, etc. Volunteers are also required to attend training, some of which is provided online.

    Finally, it's Festival time! Volunteers enjoy working their assigned shifts in-between attending events, seeing films, and (maybe) sleeping.

    Requirements & Benefits Overview

    Volunteers can choose between three different levels of commitment: Sign-Up, Half-Fest, and Full-Time. In short, the Sign-Up program offers flexible scheduling (you choose) with one film voucher for every four hours worked (24 hours minimum required). Half-Fest is a hybrid of a sign-up and full-time volunteer where volunteers can pick week one or week two of the Festival to volunteer and are given a set schedule of 40 hours with a mix of sign-up and full-time benefits. And last but not least, Full-Time Volunteers work every day of the Festival on an assigned schedule but can see an unlimited number of films while not on shift. ALL VOLUNTEERS MUST BE 21 YEARS OF AGE PRIOR TO THE START OF THE FESTIVAL.

    • 1. Sign-Up Volunteers, 24+ hours, you sign up for your schedule:
      • Commit to a minimum of 24 total hours during the Festival; sign up for more hours as you desire.
      • Shifts on weekends are in short supply. Volunteers will need to plan on staying 3-4 days, at LEAST two of which are weekdays, or a portion thereof, to meet the minimum requirement. Also note that new volunteers will not have access to first weekend shifts due to limited availability and alumni priority.
    • 2. Half-Fest Volunteers, 40+ hours, you pick first week or second week to volunteer an assigned schedule given to you:
      • Commit to a preassigned Festival schedule of at least 40 hours during week one or week two.
      • Be available to work by 4:00 p.m. on your start day and available until noon on the last day of the week you are assigned.
    • 3. Full-Time Volunteers, 80+ hours, we assign a Full-Time schedule:
      • Commit to a preassigned Festival schedule of 8 to 10 hours each day (around 80+ hours total).
      • Be available to work the entire Festival period as determined by job assignment (varies).
  • Volunteers are essential to the Festival. We recognize the time they devote to the Festival and provide benefits to them as a thank you for their service. Benefits are provided in conjunction with the number of hours volunteered, and for Full-Time Volunteers, the skills needed for the position held.

    All Volunteers receive:

    • Festival Access: Volunteer Credentials allow access to non-theatre official Festival venues on a space-available basis (similar credential costs $200). We also offer a few screenings just for volunteers. Most of all, we want to be sure volunteers can see films.
    • Uniform: Jacket and Volunteer Credential.
    • Party: Ticket to the Volunteer Opening Night Party.
    • Refreshments: We offer light snacks and refreshments in our Volunteer Hub for volunteers to come get when not on shift. These snacks are not meant to replace meals, which volunteers are responsible for providing themselves.
    • For almost every screening, we set aside a certain number of tickets only for volunteers. Film access depends on the number of hours volunteered:
    • All volunteer benefits are subject to change, not guaranteed, and may fluctuate year to year. Please keep that in mind while making plans for each Festival you hope to attend.

    Sign-Up Volunteers

    • 24 hours: Receive one volunteer voucher for every four hours volunteered. Volunteer vouchers are redeemable for one film ticket for the volunteer through the volunteer or waitlist line on a space-available basis. Vouchers and credentials are non-transferable and must be used by the volunteer with his or her credential.
    • 32 hours and above: Same benefits as above but you can exchange your volunteer vouchers for guest vouchers, which can be used by anyone (including non-volunteers!) in the general waitlist line.
    • 60 hours for Salt Lake and Sundance Resort volunteers: Vouchers are replaced by a Volunteer Photo Credential, allowing the volunteer access to unlimited Festival screenings through the volunteer line on a space-available basis (when not volunteering, of course!), also four guest waitlist ticket vouchers.
    • 80 hours for Park City volunteers: Vouchers are replaced by a Volunteer Photo Credential, allowing the volunteer access to unlimited Festival screenings through the volunteer line on a space available basis (when not volunteering, of course!) also four guest waitlist ticket vouchers.
    • Half-Fest Volunteers: Receive one volunteer voucher for every four hours volunteered. Volunteer vouchers are redeemable for one film ticket for the volunteer through the volunteer or waitlist line on a space-available basis. Volunteer vouchers and credentials are non-transferable and must be used by the volunteer with his or her credential. They will also receive an Awards Night Party ticket.
    • Full-Time Volunteers: Vouchers are replaced by a Volunteer Photo Credential, allowing the volunteer access to unlimited Festival screenings through the volunteer line on a space available basis (when not volunteering, of course!), a ticket to the awards night ceremony, and four grub stubs (each transferable for a meal at participating locations). If providing own lodging, full-time volunteers will also receive four guest waitlist ticket vouchers.

    Recognition for all volunteers, volunteering for 100 Hours: Volunteers giving 100 hours or more are recognized for their dedication to the Festival and become a part of the 100 Club. They receive the same benefits as above (Sign-Up, Half-Fest, and Full-Time are eligible for this) as well as being recognized for their commitment on their credential along with a name listing at the Festival's Awards Ceremony and access to one pre-selected ticket to a screening of their choice (as available).

Volunteer Opportunities at the Festival

The majority of volunteer opportunities and Festival operations (including the Volunteer Hub) are based out of Park City. Volunteers should plan to use the FREE Festival Shuttle System while in Park City, as there is no designated volunteer parking available. Outside of Park City, the Festival operates theatres in Salt Lake City and at the Sundance Resort as extensions of the Festival. These positions are mainly sign-up positions in our theatre operations and ticketing departments.

  • There are so many ways volunteers can get involved at the Festival! Please read on for a brief overview of the different departments that utilize volunteers:

    Artist Relations Act as liaison and provide guest services for guests attending with a film (long hours)
    Corporate Relations Act as liaison and provide guest services for corporate sponsors
    Events Help with set up, maintenance, and tear down of Festival events
    Filmmaker Lodge Set up, maintain, and break down Filmmaker Lodge. Assist with daily operation tasks
    Headquarters Assist with daily operations, set up, and tear down of Headquarters and all associated offices (Artist Relations, SIO, Volunteer Hub, Programming, etc.)
    Information Services Provide customer service and general Festival information to patrons at designated locations
    Logistics Coordinate logistics for radios, equipment, and uniforms throughout Festival
    Marketing Video/content editing, photography, and associated duties as it relates to Festival content
    Merchandise Help in our merch stores with set up, selling, and maintaining merchandise items
    New Frontier Set up, maintain, and break down New Frontier (artist installations). Assist with daily operation tasks.
    Press Help with press check-in, office duties, and press communications
    Production Help with behind-the scenes set up, maintenance, and tear down 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 our theatres
    Theatre Operations From ticket taking to crowd control, Theatre Operations is our BIGGEST NEED for volunteers
    Ticketing Assist in filling ticket orders, answering patrons' questions about films and theatres, and providing customer service
    Transportation Navigate crowds from one location to another at designated transportation stops
    Volunteer FLEX Volunteers assigned to this role will be shifted throughout various positions to fill cancellations/no-shows OR they may be re-assigned completely to one role for the duration of the Festival if help is needed on that team. FLEX volunteers MUST be willing to do ANYTHING, inside or outside, and be willing to rotate OR be re-assigned completely.
    Works Crew Assist with snow removal, signage distribution, and other Festival navigation duties
  • If you are a student group of 6 or more that would like to attend the Festival as a volunteer, please contact us BY November 1st at volunteers@sundance.org with the names of the students attending, where you are attending from, and we will follow up with more details.

    Student groups are scheduled within our theatre operations team by the volunteer department and have access to workshops and seminars designed for students only. Student groups must have a designated point of contact for communication and planning and have secured lodging and transportation to be scheduled.

  • FAQ for alumni to review prior to applying for 2018.

    1. If you volunteered in 2017, you will receive a reminder email to re-apply when the application opens. If you volunteered prior to 2017 but could not attend 2017, please set a calendar reminder to check the website to apply as we ONLY send reminder emails to most recent Festival alumni (this is due to outdated contact information. Once an alum, you are always an alum, and the application is the same for everyone).
    2. The application process is completely online. You will need to fill out an application with your current Shiftboard login email. If you don't know what email you are registered with on Shiftboard, email volunteers@sundance.org! Please fill out ALL AREAS as we want to have as much up-to-date information as we can for you! We will begin reviewing applications as early as we can (starting with alumni). Help us get a head start by applying early.
    3. To have priority consideration, alumni MUST submit an application by September 22, 2017.
    4. Watch your email for updates on your status. An email will be our main source for contacting you and getting everything in line for the Festival. We do not send anything in the mail. Don't worry though; we may be cutting back on paper, but we're not robots so you can always reach us by phone at 435-776-7870.
  • Application Process

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

    No. If you want to volunteer, you must fill out and submit a volunteer application online. Volunteers are only considered based on the information they provide in the online application and any information on previous Sundance Film Festival Volunteer experience.

    I don't have lodging in Park City, what are my options?

    It is important to know that we do not review applications if they do not have secured lodging. Due to the heavy reliance we have on our volunteers to fulfill roles, we cannot place a volunteer into a role unless we know they have a roof over their head or it is likely they will cancel and we will be left short-handed. That said, 99% of this housing is given to our returning alumni full-time volunteers.

    If you are a new volunteer and need to secure lodging, we recommend our official lodging resource page, which offers discounted rates through official partners. You can search for lodging at the following: sundance.org/lodging

    There are several ways to search for the best deal—

    • Book Early! Save big! – Discount rates will be higher if booked prior to November 5th.
    • If you are applying as Full-Time or Half-Fest, OR if you are planning to stay longer than 6 nights, use promo discount code: SFF2018VIP
    • If you are applying as Sign-Up, use promo discount code: PICTURESINMOTION
    • We encourage you to try both discounts when booking as rates and availability can vary depending on time of booking.
    • Have Questions? Need Help? Contact the reservation team
      at 877-SFF-STAY (733-7829)

    You can also try joining our Facebook group specifically for meeting, and pairing up for housing with, other volunteers. Email us at volunteers@sundance.org to be invited.

    What dates should I book my lodging?

    If you are applying for a...

    • full-time position, plan to be here by Jan 18-29 to be eligible for most volunteer positions.
    • half-fest position for week one, plan to be here Jan 18-24.
    • half-fest position for week two, plan to be here Jan 23-29.
    • sign up position, plan to be here any 4-5 days of the Festival to ensure you can get your 24 hours in. If you are new to the program, your chances of shift availability are greater after opening weekend as alumni will have priority to sign up.

    I've heard you have lodging for volunteers, is that true?

    We do have a small amount of Festival provided lodging available to qualified FULL TIME ONLY volunteers. That said, 99% of this housing is given to our returning alumni FULL TIME volunteers. Please keep in mind that if you apply without secured lodging, in hopes of getting Festival provided lodging, chances are we won't see your application as we prioritize alumni followed by new applicants who have secured accommodations first. We'd hate to have you miss out because of this!

    To better your chances of being selected as a NEW volunteer for the upcoming Festival, we strongly encourage you to apply with secured accommodations.

    Volunteers that live in Utah are not typically eligible for lodging. Some considerations may be made for volunteers living 150 miles away or more.

    What if I'm from a land far, far, away?

    We welcome a diverse group of volunteers from around the globe. You will be considered in the application process just as any other volunteer and notified within the same timeframe. The details of your passport, travel, etc. will be entirely your responsibility.

    I've volunteered before for the Sundance Film Festival. What do I do to apply for 2018?

    If you've volunteered in the past, we consider you an Alumni Volunteer.

    When will I hear about my application?

    We process applications starting in October all the way through the end of December, and they are not reviewed based on the date submitted. We fill open positions starting with qualified Alumni Volunteers, then new volunteers, and will inform applicants of their status throughout the process. Some positions are filled later depending on when that department's manager starts. We understand your need to make travel arrangements; we'll get you assigned as quickly as we can. We will work diligently to inform volunteers no later than mid-December but hopefully sooner! All volunteers will be notified of their status by January 1st. We appreciate your patience while we sort through the applications!

    What if I’m also attending as press or another role within the film industry? Can I have both credentials?

    No. Unfortunately we cannot allow volunteers to have any other type of industry related pass if they are volunteering. This includes passes for other industry related events at the Festival (official or not). If you wish to attend as press or some other type of industry role that requires an application for a credential, you will have to choose between one role or the other. That said, if you want to purchase a patron pass (meaning a ticket related pass) on top of your volunteering, you are more than welcome to do so.

    Hours and Volunteer Benefits

    If I am a local volunteer, can I work all of my required hours before the Festival?

    We love all the help our local volunteers can provide pre-Festival, however, ALL volunteers must work the required hours of their volunteer role (24 for sign up for example) during the 10 days of the Festival to be eligible to receive any volunteer incentives such as vouchers. The Festival is when we need you the most!

    How do I use my credential to get into screenings?

    A Volunteer Photo Credential (for volunteers giving 80+ hours) provides entry to Festival screenings and panels on a volunteer space-available basis via the volunteer ticket line OR the general patron waitlist line.

    Volunteer vouchers, presented with a Volunteer Non-Photo Credential and matching ID, are redeemable for tickets to Festival screenings and panels on a space-available basis. Volunteer vouchers are based on the number of volunteer hours worked. Four hours = one voucher. One voucher = one ticket through the staff and volunteer ticket line or through the general waitlist line.

    A limited number of screening tickets are held at certain theatre box offices for staff/volunteers and are available an hour prior to screening time through the staff and volunteer ticket line. If those tickets have all been distributed, you may join the general waitlist and use your credential and voucher for admittance. Waitlist patrons are admitted to the theatre on a space-available basis 15 minutes before the screening begins.

    Staff and volunteers will be admitted on a space-available basis to the Staff and Volunteer ONLY Screenings, no vouchers required! (Credential or photo ID is required for admittance.)

    Will I be able to change my shift times/What if I can't drive when it's snowing?

    Full-Time Volunteers and Half-Fest Volunteers agree to be available as assigned by the Festival. Sign-Up Volunteers are able to sign up for available shifts in advance of the Festival. From there, in the mind of the Volunteer Department, you are committed to fulfilling your shifts. There are systems in place, however, to change your shift times, which will be detailed at the volunteer orientation and in the volunteer training. When committing to shifts you should also be sure to take into account travel times and your ability to travel in inclement weather. The Sundance Film Festival is in January - it's likely there will be some snowy days. As always, change and flexibility are large components of a successful Festival, so we are happy to work with you as situations arise - just contact us ahead of time!

    What if I change my mind?/What if I can't make it to the Festival after all?

    Once accepted, volunteers will sign an agreement committing to the volunteer position they have been offered. If you are signing and committing to the volunteer agreement, you should have no reason that you know of that you cannot volunteer. The deadline for final cancellations is listed in your agreement though. We have a cancellation deadline to give us enough time to fill the position again. Volunteers who cancel after the deadline will jeopardize their ability to volunteer with Sundance Institute in the future. Of course, extreme circumstances may negate following the deadline. In such extreme cases, please contact the Volunteer Department as soon as possible to discuss your situation with a staff member.

    At the Festival

    Can I take a friend to the screenings?

    The easy answer is to get your friend to volunteer! But if that won’t work, you do have the option to exchange your volunteer vouchers (this applies to sign-up volunteers with 32 or more hours) for guest vouchers which can be used in the general waitlist line in exchange for tickets. Guest vouchers cannot be used in the volunteer/staff ticket line but volunteers are welcome to wait in the general waitlist line with their guests and will be allowed to use their volunteer voucher from there. If a volunteer chooses to use their volunteer voucher in the general waitlist line however, keep in mind that this will not count towards the allotted tickets set aside for the volunteer/staff line but will be admitted if space allows after all ticket holders (including volunteer/staff ticket line) are seated.

    How do I get into parties?

    Volunteers will receive one ticket to the Opening Night Party. Everyone that is volunteering is encouraged to attend! Full-Time and Half-Fest Volunteers will receive a ticket to the Awards Night Celebration (unless otherwise specified). Anyone attending an official party must have a hard ticket and their credential for admittance.

    How do I get into the Music Café?

    Your volunteer credential allows you access to all of the non-theatre venues on a space-available basis. This includes the Music Café, New Frontier, and Filmmaker Lodge. You may be asked to observe the "Family Hold Back" rule for high-profile performances or panels, waiting until 15 minutes prior to the start of the event before being admitted. In these cases, staff and volunteers may not be admitted if the event is full.

    What about food?

    Full-Time volunteers receive a set number of Grub Stubs which can be exchanged for a pre-determined meal at participating locations. We also offer light snacks throughout the day at the Volunteer Hub located in the Marriott Headquarters. Officially, though, meals are not provided by the Festival, so please plan accordingly.

    How do I get to Festival Headquarters in Park City from the Salt Lake City Airport?

    If you are driving or taking a shuttle, you can look at official Sundance options here: Getting Around

    The SLC airport also lists transportation resources (not affiliated with Sundance) here.

    We suggest teaming up with other volunteers though, as arranging transportation independently can end up being MUCH cheaper if you are able to find a private ride service or go in on carpooling options.

    What time should I arrive on my scheduled arrival date?

    It is important to clearly understand your start date as a Full Time Volunteer—this is the date you will want to plan to arrive in Park City. Arrive in Park City no later than 4:00 p.m. (and we recommend 3:00 p.m.) to allow travel time to Park City. This means you should be walking out of the SLC airport no later than 1:30 p.m. to allow travel time up the canyon. Check-in hours vary so be sure to check your email for a list of dates and times. If your lodging will be provided by the Festival, you will not be able to check in until after 4:00 p.m. If you arrive before then, please plan on hanging out (or attending training) for a few hours until lodging keys can be distributed.

    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 or on the other Volunteer Pages.

    To contact us:

    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).

How To Volunteer with Sundance Institute

Pick a Program to learn more about how to apply and what opportunities are available to volunteers

  • The Institute’s labs take place throughout the year in Utah and elsewhere. Volunteers play a fundamental role in the Institute’s labs in Utah during the summer months. The Summer Labs Volunteer Application will open February 2018.

    If you have questions about Lab opportunities please e-mail volunteers@sundance.org.

  • The volunteer application for NEXT FEST 2017 is now closed. If you would like more information or have questions, please e-mail volunteers@sundance.org.

  • The volunteer application for Sundance London 2017 is now closed. If you are interested in volunteering for Sundance London 2018, please contact volunteers@sundance.org in early March 2018 for more information.

  • Beyond our Festivals, Sundance Institute has 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/or projects. They are usually based out of our LA, NY, and Park City, Utah Offices and typically range between 4-6 hours. Past year round opportunities have included:

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

    If you would like to hear about upcoming year round volunteer opportunities, let us know by filling out an application.

    Volunteer Resources

  • If you have questions that are not addressed on these Volunteer pages, please contact us Monday-Friday, 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. MST at 435-776-7870 or email us: volunteers@sundance.org.