Sunday, 26 September 2010

One for the least jaded ones

I thank the volunteers every time I address a festival audience because of something a friend of mine once said. She'd taken the selfless, cashless gig at SXSW that year and "Swear to God," she insisted, "we're the least unhappy people here."

That's gotta be true on some level. Attending filmmakers are busy jostling for visibility, distributing flyers, crashing distributor parties and prepping for Q&As (when not hungover). Mostly, they're wondering if the past few years of their lives would amount to anything.

Audiences? Occasionally stressed, or at least in a hurry, as they run between cinemas trying to see everything they ticked on their creased catalogs. And if the film they had high expectations for somehow let them down? Oh boy!

I spoke to a volunteer while at MIFF this year. He seemed much older than the usual student you'd expect in the position, so clearly he wasn't doing it to pad up his resume. Turns out, he loved what the festival brought to the city each year, and this was his contribution to ensure it would never meet the unkind fiscal fate that has brought many a fest to its untimely end.

He needn't worry. In a country where ticket prices average $17.50, MIFF attendance continues to grow each year. But still, what a guy!

Photo courtesy of Dan Po & Vancouver Singapore Film Festival. Model unknown (and I hope a volunteer!)

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