Unchained Field Trips: Volunteer at SXSW 2012


In just a few days, I will be heading out to volunteer at my second major film festival of 2012. Woot! More schwag! As with Sundance, I applied for SXSW on a whim. Unlike Sundance, I was pretty sure I wasn’t going. If you don’t live in the Austin, TX area, volunteering for the fest can be a bit of gamble.

It was easy to get my online application accepted in November but once that happens, the real work begins. They offer a variety of teams that take on ”Out-of-town Volunteers” but they fill up fast. You can pick either Conference or Production Teams that vary in specific assignments. I chose the Production team just because I’d like to have more technical experience. After skimming through how to obtain badge perks to see how many hours I’d need to sign up for to actually see films, I emailed a group of Production teams in January checking on volunteer space availability. Of the few that replied back, each one said that they’d been filled. Oh well. I left for Utah and Sundanced my disappointment away.

However about a week into February, I just happened to check my spam email and found that I’d been assigned a shift on the Video Projectionist Team. In the next minutes as I rubbed my eyes in disbelief, four more emails popped up. I ended up with 5 8-hour shifts which qualifies me for the gold! According to the SXSW Volunteer site, “Volunteer Gold Badge (Minimum of 5 shifts) gets access into all SXSW Film and Interactive events, including screenings, trade show, panels, mentor sessions and most parties”. Woot again!

Moral of the story: Apply EARLY when they announce the open call for volunteers. Contact EVERY volunteer crew team that even remotely piques your interest as soon as your apps been accepted by the festival. CHECK your email religiously, especially YOUR SPAM FOLDER.

My shifts for SXSW are more intense than Sundance (8 hour shifts vs. 5 hour shifts), but I’m still pumped because since I’m only working 5 days instead of the entire festival, I should get to see more films. Here’s hoping I can schedule in more sleep this time too. The fest doesn’t pay for housing or travel, but I’m graciously being hosted by an IC alum (Bless you Ayshea Khan!) who lives close to the event.

My goal as always is to see as many feature films by the big three: first time filmmakers, filmmakers of color, and women filmmakers. I will absolutely be trying to chronicle my time volunteering to share this awesome opportunity with you all. #unchained.

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One thought on “Unchained Field Trips: Volunteer at SXSW 2012

  1. mijitamaggi says:

    Christine! Go to check out the Digital Bolex, and tell me what you see.;;

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