I have always been a big movie buff. I love everything about them–the creation process, the cinematography and, most importantly, watching stories come to life before your eyes.
And this year I was lucky enough to volunteer at the 24th Philadelphia Film Festival. Last year, as a freshman, I found out about the opportunity through my first semester English professor who recommended it to us. It was such an awesome experience last year that I had to do it again!
The festival ranged from October 22nd through November 1st. It featured a whole array of different films including documentaries, animated shorts, American independents, films from an array of different countries,”the graveyard shift”, which included some Halloween favorites, and many more.
Our job as a volunteer was to be an usher/greeter. We scanned membership badges and mobile tickets and collected printed tickets. Last year, my roommate physically scanned the tickets and badges, while I controlled the spreadsheets on the iPad that was connected to the scanner. However, this year the technology was much more updated. Instead, we used apps on smart phones to scan the tickets and badges. The process was definitely a lot more efficient than last year and it was cool to see such a drastic change in such a small amount of time.
Another aspect of our job was handing out and collecting the viewers’ ballots; they would rate the film on a scale of “excellent” to “not good.” We were faced with a lot of different people throughout our shift since we helped for a total of eight films over the two days.
There’s something about volunteering that just makes the whole person feel good. Sometimes things don’t always work out as planned, but it’s important to always be patient and do what you’re asked when you’re volunteering.
It’s safe to say this volunteering was definitely one of my favorites. It is extremely interesting to see behind the scenes of how large-scale festivals are run. Also, our supervisors said that the amount of attendees at the festival almost doubled since the previous year. This festival is going to continue to grow and gain importance to the city of Philly.
Also, a major perk of this volunteer experience is that you are able to watch the films that are being shown during your shift and you are given vouchers to see films at the Roxy theatre, which the Philadelphia Film Society owns. What a steal!
Volunteering is one of the many ways to formally show acts of kindness. It’s a good way to meet like-minded people and it’s also a good way to give back to the community. I definitely recommend this experience to anyone interested in film, both behind the scenes and viewing it.