Words from Sundance Staffers: Jennie-Marie Adler

Hilary Hart January 28, 2010

What is your job at SFF?
Volunteer Coordinator. Specifically for all Press office, Film office, industry, Feature film, Development, Executive, Accounting, corporate relations, and ticketing volunteers.

What do you do the rest of the year?
I work at other film festivals in the Bay Area.

Why did you decide to start working at Sundance Film Festival?
In college I read Down & Dirty Pictures and started dreaming about one day working at Sundance. I respect what they’ve done for independent film. They’ve created access for people like me to see low budget independent films that don’t always get distribution. To me, the Sundance Festival is the best in the U.S. combing skiing, snow, and incredible films. I had never applied until now because I wanted to get more Festival experience behind me before I tackled the snowy weather and coordinating so many volunteers (1600). With five festivals behind me 2010 seemed like the perfect time to apply.

What is your most cherished memory from previous festivals?
As a volunteer coordinator, the most exciting part of Festivals is to stop by the theaters and meet the volunteers that you’ve spent so much time with on the phone and over email. I also love seeing venues that have been transformed for an event or opening night. It’s magical!

What film are you most looking forward to seeing at SFF?
ANIMAL KINGDOM and I’m jumping on the Kristen Stewart bandwagon because I’m excited to see WELCOME TO THE RILEYS. I’m also really excited to see Patrick Eklund’s short film, SEEDS OF THE FALL.

If you’ve had a chance to preview any of the festival films, which ones are you recommending to friends?
I really thought RESTREPO and THE OATH were strong documentaries. They allow you to view a world that we’ve only hear about in headlines.

How many films do you hope to see? I have 8 tickets and I’m hoping to see all of them!

What are your strategies for selecting which films to see and getting into screenings?
I chose to see some of the bigger premieres at the Festival because I want to be there for all of the excitement. I feel a bit ashamed wanting to see films like The Runaways because it’s on everyone’s list but, I’m here at Sundance and I want to soak it all up. While my staff benefits include film tickets, I plan on waitlisting for a few movies. I think it’s a great way to Festival without any kind of credential.

How does SFF differ from other film festivals that you have attended or worked at?
Size, size, size! SFF brings over 40,000 people to Park City during the Festival and 1600 volunteers. It’s immense and Main Street turns into a wintery version of Bourbon Street. I’ve also noticed the press coverage. I’m forwarded Sundance news articles everyday to my relatives and always suprised at how many local papers are reporting on the Festival.

If you have to choose between going to a film or a party how do you decide what to do?
Luckily I haven’t had this problem yet! There seems to be enough films and parties that you never have to pick between the two! But for me, if the party has food, I’m more likely to choose that over a film (especially since there’s a good chance I can catch the second or third screening of the film).

How do you deal with the cold and altitude in Park City?
Since I’m on staff, I’ve been here since October and dealing with the dry climate hasn’t been easy. I have amazing waterproof boots and chapstick on a lanyard; The two things I can’t live without during the Festival.

Will you be back for next year?

Hilary Hart, who annually holds down the late-night shift at the Egyptian at the Sundance Film Festival, will be offering interviews with fellow workers from the San Francisco Bay Area during the course of the festival.