Aug 24, 200706:28 PMThe Life
Views from a volunteer at the film festival..
Hello! I'm in my fourth year as a volunteer with the Palm Springs International Festival of Short Films and I'd like to offer you a perspective of the festival from the inside. I'll be volunteering at three special event parties this year, two of them open to the public with pre-purchased tickets, and one is a private party for the filmmakers. I volunteer for this festival and the larger festival in the winter (the "big one" as people like to call it) and I have to admit that I prefer to work the "shorts." Generally, the filmmakers are not as famous, and they love to chat with anyone who will listen about their films. Often this festival is the first time that they've seen their film on the big screen, and their excitement is always amazing to watch. The crowds are more mellow for this festival (maybe it's the heat?) and many of us volunteers start to recognize the regular attendees and we establish a friendly rapport with them. Last night I worked the opening night party that was available to the public with a special ticket. A fun, diverse group of about 300 enthusiastic film lovers ascended poolside (all around the same time, which made it a challenge for the volunteers!) at the Hilton Hotel to enjoy the array of food, a free glass of wine or beer and live entertainment. The opening party is usually a little quieter, the filmmakers are just starting to get to know each other, and most are nervous about their film's screening. A room (or in this case, patio) full of film lovers is a crowd ready to talk to about any aspect of film, so the conversation never wanes. I like to ask if people enjoyed the films, which can be a long answer when you're talking about the shorts, since they average 6 films for each program. The consensus for last night was that 4 out of the 6 were great. I don't know if it was the same two films that people didn't care for, but one comment was "by the time I understood it, it was over!" That's the beauty of the short films. If you don't get the one you're watching, it will be over soon and you can start all over again! Things were still going strong at 10:30 when I headed home to rest up for another evening of film fun.