Student Get Involved at the Sundance Film Festival

Madison Mansfield, a sophomore biology major, reads the City Weekly Sundance issue at Sugar House Coffee. The Sundance Film Festival offers internships, volunteer opportunities and many other ways for Westminster students to get involved. Photo by Olivia Wathne

Madison Mansfield, a sophomore biology major, reads the City Weekly Sundance issue at Sugar House Coffee. The Sundance Film Festival offers internships, volunteer opportunities and many other ways for Westminster students to get involved. Photo by Olivia Wathne

The Sundance Film Festival offers students the chance to intern at one of the largest film festivals in the country, as well as see the top independent movies of the year—and it’s right in Westminster’s backyard.

The Sundance Film Festival offers internships and volunteer opportunities. Internships are offered at the festival and throughout the rest of the year.

Sarah Hirning, ASW president, interned at Sundance last January and said she thoroughly enjoyed it.

“I don’t have any cons from the experience,” Hirning said. “It was unique and fun. A huge pro to working at Sundance is having some type of inside access to this iconic festival.”

As an intern, Hirning’s duties ranged from basic promotional work during the day to driving the film crew to different parties at night.

“What was really cool was a former leader of the Black Panther party, who helped create the film I was interning for, was travelling with the crew,” Hirning said. “I was able to talk to her about the experiences she had decades ago, and it was truly incredible.”

I definitely suggest other students get involved with the festival in any way possible. There are lots of opportunities, and it’s such a unique experience we have in Salt Lake that many students can’t access.
— Sarah Hirning, previous Sundance intern

Hirning applied to work for the festival through the Utah Film Center (UFC). She was then assigned to the film “The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution” and worked with its director Stanley Nelson Jr. and his crew.

The film festival runs Jan. 21‒31, with its main location in Park City and surrounding locations in Salt Lake City, Ogden and Sundance.  

Some students said it’s a hassle to drive to Park City and only walk around. Madison Mansfield, sophomore biology major, attended the festival last year but didn’t get to see a movie, yet participated in a handful of other Sundance events.

“I got a bunch of free stuff,” Mansfield said. “There are music lounges set up for the festival, and I saw an upcoming folky band. I definitely think it’s worth it to go up there and see what’s going on.

The Sundance Film Festival now has an app that simplifies the process of catching a movie or attending special events. Users can check varying costs, their position on an e-waitlist and plan their film schedules. Another way to catch a movie is to go to sundance.org, create an account and sign up for e-waitlists.

“I definitely suggest other students get involved with the festival in any way possible,” said Hirning, a previous Sundance intern. “There are lots of opportunities, and it’s such a unique experience we have in Salt Lake that many students can’t access.”