Volunteer applications for the 2020 festival are open
How does Mountainfilm transform the tiny alpine hamlet of Telluride, Colorado, into a world-class documentary film extravaganza? Volunteers! For each festival, we rely on the true grit and devotion of 250 plus volunteers from around the planet. Who can volunteer? Anyone who is 18 years or older and willing to smile endlessly, get his or her hands dirty, problem solve, work hard, and commit to a four-day weekend of engaging with filmmakers, climbers, adventurers, writers, artists, environmentalists, activists, and concerned citizens of the world.
In exchange for approximately 20 hours of work, volunteers receive a Palmyra Pass, which includes all-theater access, and entry into the Moving Mountains Symposium and the Closing Picnic & Awards Ceremony.
To Volunteer for Mountainfilm:
- You must be available to work during the festival weekend, May 22-25, 2020.
- You must be at least 18 years old to volunteer.
- You must provide a credit/debit card number in the amount of $395 as a deposit. This is the value of a Palmyra pass. (Submitting a volunteer application will not result in credit cards being charged; we will charge the full deposit amount only if you fail to complete your assignment. Please read our deposit policy and cancellation policy immediately below for more information.)
- We do not provide accommodations for volunteers.
- Have more questions? Read the volunteer FAQ below.
VOLUNTEER APPLICATION DEPOSIT: $395
(Credit or debit card only)
Mountainfilm's Deposit Policy
A credit card deposit is required as part of the Mountainfilm festival volunteer application process in the amount of $395 (the value of a Palmyra pass). Your credit card acts as a deposit against the completion of your shifts, but we will not charge any amount unless you fail to complete your volunteer obligation. When your shifts are completed satisfactorily, we will release the deposit. If you do not fulfill a shift on your schedule, we will charge your card.
Canceling Your Volunteer Application
You can cancel until Friday, May 1, and we will release the deposit. Please send your request to cancel by emailing the volunteer coordinator. After May 1, your deposit is non-refundable. Emergency cancellations will be dealt with on a case-by-case basis.
We hope to answer many of your questions below and also recommend checking out the Festival page for general information about attending Mountainfilm.
How do I reach the Volunteer Coordinator?
Mountainfilm’s Volunteer Coordinator will be in the office around March 15 and can be reached by calling 970-728-4123 x26 or by email. During the winter months, please allow a few days for a response.
What is required to volunteer for a festival pass?
There are four main requirements for volunteering:
- Submit the online volunteer application.
- Include a valid credit card number as your deposit.
- Show up with a great attitude.
- Complete your shifts satisfactorily.
How many hours do I need to volunteer for a pass?
To earn your Palmyra pass, you need to volunteer for approximately 20 hours.
What is your deposit policy?
See the deposit policy above.
What if I need to cancel?
See the cancellation policy above.
When is the volunteer meeting?
The volunteer meeting is Wednesday, May 20, 2020, at 6:00 p.m. Please watch announcements for location information.
What happens at the volunteer meeting?
Your festival pass and t-shirt will be available for pick-up. We will go over important information for the festival weekend and you will also meet with your manager.
What if I can’t make the volunteer meeting?
Notify the volunteer coordinator by email as soon as possible to explain the situation that prevents you from attending the meeting. We understand that many of our volunteers travel from out of town and do not arrive by Wednesday evening.
If I miss the meeting, where should I pick up my pass and t-shirt? And what about meeting with my manager?
If you miss the volunteer meeting, you can pick up your pass and t-shirt at Mountainfilm Hospitality. Plan on arriving for your first shift 10 minutes early. Find your manager and let them know you missed the volunteer meeting.
What types of jobs are available to volunteers?
Volunteer positions are available in the following departments:
Communications: The Communications team fields all phone calls and radio calls from Mountainfilm guests and staff. Volunteers must be comfortable problem solving, running errands and using electronics. This is a position for someone who is detail-oriented and friendly. Much of the job can be done sitting down, although you may be asked to run errands.
Field Crew: Mountainfilm’s Field Crew is responsible for setting up and breaking down all physical aspects of the festival. Every theater, social event and decoration about town is put together and then taken apart by the Field Crew. Field Crew volunteers may be asked to unload storage lockers, fill trucks with gear and supplies, haul equipment in and out of theaters, paint, bang nails, hang flags, climb ladders, set up tables and chairs, unload boxes of books and more. Strength, a great attitude and willingness to work in all types of mountain weather are required. Some lifting of 50+ pounds may be necessary.
Gallery: Over the festival weekend, Mountainfilm exhibits art by filmmakers and guests of the festival. Volunteers are needed to act as exhibit hosts at these galleries. The volunteer’s main responsibilities are to greet guests as they enter the gallery and make sure none of the art disappears.
Hospitality: Mountainfilm Hospitality is open throughout the festival weekend for picking up passes, buying tickets, providing programs and as an information hub for the festival. Helpful and friendly volunteers who are great with customer service and comfortable with technology are invited to join the crew.
Rigging: Mountainfilm's Rigging Crew loads and unloads heavy equipment in and out of the theaters pre and post-festival and assists with other production duties as needed. Strength is, first and foremost, needed to be a rigger.
Theater Coordination: Theater coordination volunteers will help with loading in or out tech equipment pre and post-festival. Bring work gloves and wear good shoes, as theater coordination mostly involves schlepping things around some heavy lifting and ladder work.
Special Events: Special events volunteers set up, break down and cater all of Mountainfilm’s events throughout the weekend. Volunteers are needed to work the Filmmakers Dinner, Gallery Walk, Ice Cream Social, Reading Frenzy, Town Talks and Closing Picnic. Events volunteers are energetic, outgoing and quick with a smile.
Theater Operations: Mountainfilm has eight theaters in operation throughout the weekend: Palm, Sheridan Opera House, Nugget, Masons, The Library, Off-Width, High Camp and Base Camp. Base Camp is an outdoor theater; all other theaters are indoors. As a theater volunteer, you will be assigned to one of these theaters for your shifts. Your duties will include ushering, scanning passes, answering questions, greeting and smiling.
When will my schedule be available, and how do I check it?
We hope to have schedules available by Friday, May 10. Because of last-minute changes, it could be later. You will receive an email once your schedule is ready. Contact the volunteer coordinator if you are concerned.
All communication will come from Volunteer Coordinator or our volunteer communication tool, InitLive. You will receive important updates, your schedule, and instructions to download the volunteer app as the festival weekend approaches. Please make sure to add firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com to your contacts so that our correspondence and your schedule do not end up in spam.
Where does my shift meet?
Shift information is located in your online schedule. (See the previous question for information about checking your online schedule.) For a quick reference, most shift locations are listed below. For shift times and all other details, check your schedule.
Unless stated otherwise, all locations are in Telluride, Colorado.
Communications: Telluride Community Room, 231 East Pacific Avenue.
Field Crew: Please check your schedule.
Gallery: Please check your schedule.
Hospitality: 122 S Oak Street
Rigging: Meet outside of the Mountainfilm office at 122 S Oak Street.
Theater Coordination: Meet outside of the Mountainfilm office at 122 S Oak Street.
Special Events: Please check your schedule.
Theater Operations: See theater locations below.
- Palm: Telluride High School, 721 West Colorado Avenue
- Off-Width: Telluride High School, 721 West Colorado Avenue
- Sheridan Opera House: 110 North Oak Street
- Nugget: 207 West Colorado Avenue
- Masons: 200 East Colorado Avenue
- The Library: The Wilkinson Public Library, 100 West Pacific Avenue
- High Camp: Telluride Conference Center, 580 Mountain Village Boulevard, Mountain Village, Colorado
- Base Camp: Telluride Town Park, 500 East Colorado Avenue
Do you provide lodging for volunteers?
We do not provide lodging for volunteers, but we do recommend checking out our lodging sponsors and making your own arrangments. Camping is also an option, but be aware that Telluride weather in May could be very cold, rainy or even snowy. Be sure to bring appropriate camping equipment.
What should I wear to my shift?
Field Crew and Rigging: Wear work clothes that can get dirty and closed-toed shoes. You will be outside for some of your shift, so dress for weather at 9,000 feet in the spring.
Filmmakers Dinner and Gallery Walk: Wear black pants or a black skirt and a white shirt. If you don’t own these items, then come as close as possible. For the Filmmakers Dinner, be sure to bring some warm layers.
Base Camp Outdoor Theater: Dress warmly. A down jacket, hat and gloves are highly recommended. A headlamp is helpful.
All other shifts, please dress in clean, comfortable clothes including your Mountainfilm t-shirt.
What is the weather like during Mountainfilm?
The weather at 9,000 feet is variable. It could snow, rain or be warm and sunny. Please check your favorite weather forecast before you pack your bag or leave for your shift. Layers are good. Read more about Telluride, Colorado.
I want to see as many films and presentations as possible when I’m not volunteering. Any advice?
Yes! Our advice is as follows:
- Choose films showing at the Palm, High Camp or Base Camp. These are the largest theaters and the least likely to sell out. A sell-out is still possible at those venues, but the chances of getting into a show are better at the larger theaters.
- Choose the second showing. If you see a film you’d like to see listed twice, choose the second showing, especially if it's at a larger theater.
- Wake up early and head to one of the Coffee Talks. Don’t forget to bring your own mug.
- Plan ahead: Printed schedules will be available at Hospitality starting Thursday, May 23. The online schedule is often live on our website a few days sooner. Using your volunteer schedule and our program, plan your weekend strategically.