film. farther. Presented by the University of Wisconsin-Madison.


volunteer at the festival

Q. What do volunteers do?

Volunteers keep the theaters running smoothly during the Festival. The official staff of the Festival is small and we rely on volunteers to play crucial roles in putting on the show.

Some duties may include:

  • Organizing ticket holders into various lines
  • Collecting and tearing tickets
  • Distributing and collecting ballots
  • Tallying tickets and ballots
  • Selling tickets
  • Answering questions and helping to solve customer problems
  • Helping people find seats and working to ensure all seats are filled efficiently
  • Helping people find the correct auditorium or restroom facilities or concessions
  • Introducing films and filmmakers
  • Coordinating with theater projectionists and festival staff to ensure on time starts to each screening
  • Communicating with theater projectionists to ensure correct volume and image focus
  • Assisting with panel discussions and Q&A sessions before and after screenings

Ideally, volunteers:

  • Commit to at least ten hours of volunteering during the Festival, over two or more shifts.
  • In exchange, you become a core part of the Wisconsin Film Festival, see movies, meet the filmmakers, and learn how a festival works behind the scenes. It's also a great way to connect with other volunteers and community members who share your passion for great movies.

Fill out and submit this year's volunteer form here.

Q. What are the volunteer benefits?

  • Free movies! After you attend your first volunteer meeting (see below), you will receive two free film vouchers for each shift you work, minimum 2 - maximum ?, which you can exchange for the film tickets of your choice.
  • You'll receive the highly coveted volunteers-only t-shirt. We wear these during the event to identify ourselves as festival crew, and it's yours to keep. To help us order enough shirts to fit everyone, we'll ask you to estimate your preferred shirt size when you sign up to volunteer. You'll find a place to choose a size on the sign-up form later. You will receive your shirt at the second volunteer training meeting, which takes place the weekend immediately before the Film Festival.

Fill out and submit this year's volunteer form here.

Q. When are the training sessions?

  • We hold four meetings, of which you will attend two (a "WEEK A" and a "WEEK B" meeting) before the Festival to present the information you'll need to be a volunteer. To accommodate people's schedules, we hold each week's meeting twice.
  • You don't need to tell us which "WEEK A" meeting and which "WEEK B" meeting you'll attend - just come (to one each week)!

This is true for returning volunteers as much as for first-timers - we rely on the experiences of those folks who worked at past festivals to help us improve our procedures for 2014.

"WEEK A" orientation meetings (come ot just ONE of these meetings):
Saturday, Feb 22 | 11 am to 12 pm
Sunday, Feb 23 | 12 pm to 1 pm
4070 Vilas Hall (the UW Cinematheque theater), 821 University Ave., Madison, Wis.

"WEEK B" orientation meetings (come ot just ONE of these meetings):
Saturday, March 29 | 2 pm to 3 pm
Sunday, March 30 | 12 pm to 1 pm
4070 Vilas Hall (the UW Cinematheque theater), 821 University Ave., Madison, Wis.

Fill out and submit this year's volunteer form here.

Q. What will my schedule look like?

  • After you attend the WEEK A meetings, you'll complete another online form, telling us which of the shifts you'll be available to work, and the number of shifts that you'd like to sign up for (minimum 2).
  • The more flexibility you have, the better, since it means we can more easily schedule volunteers for those shifts where they are the most needed.
  • Before you send us your availability (which will happen after the WEEK A meeting), be sure to get your tickets to the festival films you want to see.
  • Being a volunteer at a theater means doing a lot of tasks outside the theater, and so it's not a good time to see a favorite film. Better to get a ticket in advance, relax, and enjoy the movie.
  • The final schedule of your assigned shifts will be emailed to you before the WEEK B meetings. This is the weekend immediately before Film Festival.

Fill out and submit this year's volunteer form here.

Fine Print

The Wisconsin Film Festival is a public program of the UW Arts Institute, a non-profit, tax-exempt unit of the University of Wisconsin-Madison. To successfully accomplish our mission of educational outreach, support for independent filmmakers, and service to the community, we ask volunteers to commit to following:

  • Volunteers must be at least 18 years of age.
  • All volunteers are responsible for their own transportation, lodging, and meals in Madison for Festival activities.
  • Volunteers understand that they are freely donating their time and expertise to the Wisconsin Film Festival.

Please note that acceptance of your application makes you an official volunteer and that you will be covered by the State's liability protection program so long as you perform your duties wihin the scope of the description provided above. Since volunteers are not covered by the state's worker compensation program, however, you are encouraged to maintain your own health insurance. If you should be injured during the course of your volunteer activities and the injury results from the negligence of a University employee or agent, you would have the legal rights to seek compensation from the negligent party or property owner.

Fill out and submit this year's volunteer form here.

Wisconsin Film Festival | 1050 University Ave. | Madison, WI 53706 USA | T 877-963-3456 or 608-262-9009 | F 608-262-6589 | E |

administration (UW Arts Institute)
Professor Norma Saldivar | executive director | 608-890-3314 |
Ben Reiser | festival coordinator | 608-262-6578 |
Zachary Robbins | corporate relations | 608-628-7344 |
Karin Kolb | youth programming & outreach specialist | 608-890-1177 |

film programming (UW Department of Communication Arts)
Professor JJ Murphy | artistic director | 608-263-3965 |
Jim Healy | director of programming | 608-263-9643 |
Mike King | senior programmer | 608-265-4231 |
Amanda McQueen | print traffic coordinator, wisconsin's own programmer | 608-263-9643 |

The Festival is brought to you by the Arts Institute in association with the Department of Communication Arts.

UW Arts InstituteUW Department of Communication Arts