Celebrities, filmmakers, movie critics and movie studio executives will descend in Park City for the annual Sundance Film Festival in January, bringing with them a significant economic boom for the state of Utah.
For Salt Lake Community College students, the festival means opportunities for paid and unpaid internships, among other jobs, providing quick cash on a flexible schedule.
Sundance begins on Jan. 23 and runs through Feb. 2, giving students two weeks to participate and take advantage of the temporary jobs that come along. Whether students are looking to make connections or extra money, the festival is a great opportunity to explore volunteering or interning, as well as jobs that will benefit from the influx of people in the area, like driving for Uber or Lyft.
According to the Sundance Institute, over 2,400 people volunteer each year. Opportunities include managing theater entrances, managing shuttle stops and supporting special events.
The perks of volunteering may include free film tickets, volunteer parties and free food. Most volunteers would agree that the biggest reward of all is the chance to make connections.
SLCC’s Brittny Rene volunteered at the Sundance Film Festival last year.
“Connections are everything,” Rene says. “While I wasn’t currently enrolled in classes at the time, Sundance still helped me network and make those vital connections for pursuing a career in film.”
The Utah Film Center is a nonprofit organization offering media education for teachers and students. They offer unique internships specific to students seeking college credit.
“Students pursuing any type of degree will benefit from their program, but it usually attracts film students,” says Sarah Mohr, an executive assistant at the Utah Film Center.
“Responsibilities may include (but are not limited to) driving filmmakers around Park City, coordinating airport pickups and returns, assisting in planning and executing parties and events related to the promotion of the film, and running various errands as needed,” Mohr says.
The position includes a $200 stipend per day, plus gas. Students interested in applying should do so soon, information is available on The Utah Film Center website.
Another opportunity that is unrelated to the festival itself, is driving for Uber and Lyft. Ride share companies encourage their drivers to participate in the film festival by shuttling participants to and from hotels, restaurants and the SLC airport.
Applying to work for Uber or Lyft may take a few weeks, but after an applicant has met some of the mandatory requirements, the companies provide support for the participating drivers with Park City emergency information and updates.
Uber and Lyft also “surge” prices during high request times, allowing drivers to make significantly more money when the festival is in its peak.
Experienced drivers, like SLCC’s Ronald Wilson, choose to take days off from his full-time job to participate in the surges that Sundance produces.
“I have done Lyft for the last three years and during Sundance I usually see about $700 for the week and last year’s weather wasn’t too bad to drive in either, making it easy money,” says Wilson.
Information about volunteering at the festival can be found at sundance.org and details about the Utah Film Center positions can contact Sarah Mohr at 801-746-7000.