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Volunteer with The Wisconsin Film Festival | April 9 - 16, 2015

Our 2015 Wisconsin Film Festival Volunteer Registration is now closed. If you've already registered with us, please find all your questions below and thank you for volunteering!

Throughout the years we have been fortunate to have the best volunteers we could possibly ask for. Our volunteers come from all walks of life, ranging from students to retirees. In turn we try to provide a positive, respectful, and friendly environment for people who support film and want to help facilitate exciting events that celebrate cinema. Qualified volunteers enjoy working with the public, understand the importance of being reliable, and have a love for film.

The Wisconsin Film Festival is pleased to reward our volunteers with vouchers that are redeemable for Festival tickets. For every shift you volunteer, you will receive two vouchers. One voucher equals one ticket. Shifts are roughly four hours long and we encourage our volunteers to sign up for three or more shifts.

We look forward to working with you soon! If you have any questions or concerns please don't hesitate to email us at or contact our Volunteer Coordinator, Bernadette Watts, directly at


March 8th, 2015 at 12pm
The Marquee @ Union South
1308 W. Dayton St. Madison, WI 53715

We will be hosting two Volunteer Meetings this year. The first will take place at Union South's Marquee on Sunday, March 8th, 2015 at 12pm. We understand that your lives are busy and March can be madness but we strongly advise attending the first Volunteer Meeting which will act as an Introduction to the Wisconsin Film Festival. You will learn all about our volunteer teams and how to sign up for them on Shiftboard. You will meet our staff and have the opportunity to ask all of your questions. For those of you who may have trouble navigating Shiftboard, after the meeting we'll have computers onsite and staff waiting to help you sign up for shifts.

Cinematheque & Chazen - Sunday, March 22 - 1PM. meet @ Vilas 4070
Capitol Theater & MMoCA - Monday, April 6 - 6PM. meet @ Capitol Theater
The Marquee - Tuesday, April 7 - 6PM. meet @ Union South's Varsity Lounge
Sundance Cinemas - Wednesday, April 8 - 6:30PM. meet @ Sundance Cinema's North Lounge

You are required to attend one of the Training Sessions listed above. The location of the Venue Training Session you choose should correspond to the location you've decided to volunteer at. If all of your shifts are at Sundance, you are required to attend the Sundance Training Session on Wednesday, April 8th. If you are planning to pick up shifts at multiple locations, please stay informed by attending the trainings that you're able to. Training Sessions should run about 45 minutes. Venue Managers and Leads will take you through the different volunteer roles and you'll become familiar with your venue's particularities. You'll also receive your beautiful volunteer t-shirt and badge! RSVP instructions for your Training Session will be given at the March 8th Volunteer Meeting.

We require attendance to Volunteer Meetings as they are incredibly important to ensure proper training. We sincerely hope to not waste your time and instead aim to make these meetings entertaining, educational and brief. We also understand that emergencies come up. If you have good reason to skip a meeting, please email to arrange for your t-shirt & badge pick-up and to get up to speed on all your unanswered questions.


Theater Operations
Theater Operations Volunteers are the backbone of the festival. On a typical Theater Operations shift you'll keep lines of patrons informed and organized, you'll take tickets, hand out audience award ballots, usher guests into the theater, count ballots, and assist in any other tasks required of a smoothly operated and well-oiled theatrical production machine. As a member of the Theater Operations Team, you will be identified by your beautiful Festival Volunteer t-shirts and you are the first and main point of contact for Festival patrons. You should be prepared to answer an array of customer questions including showtimes, venue and auditorium locations as well as directions to venue specific amenities such as restrooms and concession stands. From time to time you may be given the opportunity to introduce a film or assist with Q&A sessions.

Will Call
Will Call Volunteers are needed at each of our festival venues to check ID's and find pre-ordered tickets for patrons, as well as provide general information about the festival and assist in directing patrons. Upon arrival at your shift location, Will Call Volunteers should report to the Venue Manager or Lead Volunteer onsite for your shift. Will Call shifts will be available at campus box office locations when they are on sale, Saturday, March 14th and during the festival we will run a WIll Call and Available Day-Of ticket table at all of our venues.

Office Support
Members of Office Support will have access to shifts involving office-related projects which will generally take place at the Festival headquarters on campus in Lathrop Hall. These tasks may involve data entry, assisting with mailings, and other administrative projects. Join this team if you want to be involved with the festival between now and opening day or if you'd like to be involved but won't be available during the festival dates in April. Office Support Volunteer opportunities will become available before any other festival opportunities and we will continue to request help as needed until the start of the festival. If you don't see shifts available now, please check back by mid March.

Venue Leads
Venue Leads will be assisting our Venue Managers during the festival. Volunteers on this team will supervise Theater Operations Volunteers, communicate on headset with Venue Managers and other Theater Leads as well as perform sound & image checks with Projectionists. Your main concern is assisting Venue Managers in overseeing the general flow of your theater. Request to join this group if you have great communication and leadership skills along with the desire to learn the behind-the-scenes intricacies of running events of this volume.

*Theater Leads are asked to sign up for 4+ shifts. Previous Wisconsin Film Festival experience is strongly suggested for these roles.

Special Events Crew
The Wisconsin Film Festival hosts a series of events where filmmakers and other guests of the festival can retreat for light snacks and beverages. Special Event Volunteers assist by checking credentials as guests enter, restocking food and beverages, and helping with the general upkeep of the event. If you are interested in joining the festival events team, when you request to join, please include why you are interested in the position and any prior event, food service, or door duty experience that you may have had.


We ask that our volunteers commit to 3 shifts, roughly 12 hours in length. As a thank you for playing an incredibly important role in the Wisconsin Film Festival tradition and you are awarded vouchers to see movies, you'll have the opportunity to meet filmmakers, and learn how a festival works behind the scenes.

Volunteering is also a great way to connect with other volunteers and community members who share your passion for great film.

Upon completing each shift you will receive two volunteer vouchers that you can exchange for tickets. Vouchers can be exchanged for WFF 2015 tickets online or at the Box Office.

For screenings that have gone to "rush" (or have been sold out of advanced tickets for purchase) vouchers may be used as cash in the standby line. After ticket holders are let in, rush is ushered in until the theater reaches capacity.

Fine Print

The Wisconsin Film Festival is a public program of the UW Arts Institute, a nonprofit, 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 the 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 within 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.

For questions please don't hesitate to email us at or contact Bernadette, your Volunteer Coordinator, directly at .

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