TIFF would not be possible without the involvement of hundreds of volunteers. As a charitable, cultural organization (yes, TIFF is a charity), it relies on government funding, countless sponsors and, most importantly, all the volunteers.
This year, 2,300 volunteers were required to properly execute our city’s world-class film festival. TIFF takes months and months of preparation, and logistics to coordinate across 10 theatre venues and 11 departments. So what are the rules and roles of a TIFF volunteer? You must sign up for a minimum of four shifts, don an impossible-to-miss bright orange volunteer shirt and abide by all the TIFF rules of conduct — which means no talking to the press, movie stars, or industry.
Want to join in on the fun?
Film-loving TIFF volunteers are in the know and get to be in the middle of all the action, in addition to a string of other benefits. Among some are:
• Professional advancement through the connections made and being able to have the TIFF name stand out on a resumé.
• For every eight hours worked, volunteers receive one (two if you happen to be a captain) reward vouchers. The vouchers are redeemable for a movie screening or toward a discount on TIFF membership or merchandise. We are told this works out to a $20.00 ticket value.
• Once you have signed up for four shifts, each volunteer receives a loot bag, which includes the volunteer T-shirt and a TIFF walking map as well as other goodies like soft drinks, Audi sponsored breath mints, a magazine, a freezer-friendly lunch container and an assortment of coupons. All clearly essential!
• There is a Post-TIFF volunteer party held on the last day of the festival, with the location kept secret until tickets are received.
• Returning volunteers are invited to a free movie three weeks before the festival starts that is kept secret until it screens. This year’s film was On the Road.
How do you become a TIFF volunteer? Applicants must fill out an online application and will then receive an acceptance email. Once this happens, they may log onto the Volunteer Hub and set up a profile. Then there is the training, which took place over this weekend on September 2.