Volunteering at the Edinburgh Film Festival

Karen’s Blog – Karen tells us about her experience volunteering for the Edinburgh International Film Festival.

I’ve just completed volunteering with the Filmhouse at the Edinburgh Karen Media PassInternational Film Festival 2018. This was my first year as a volunteer. However, I had gone along as part of get2gether when we had our cinema events there, as well as when Buggy Off was shown as part of Accessibility Week. I’ve always liked hanging out there, whether it be to go and see movies or just visit the café, so when I saw the opportunity to help out in the Film Festival I thought, “why not?!”

After a short application, I was called for interview. It was only a few questions about why I wanted to volunteer and what areas I want to volunteer in. There are a variety of different volunteer roles that you can do. This year I volunteered in video tech. It involved signing in delegates so they could view online movies in a series of booths. These booths show exclusive films submitted by the filmmakers in a variety of different categories ranging from Best of British and animation to world cinema.

During the time you work with other volunteers and get to watch films when you’re not busy, as well as getting some good chat and some free caramel wafers (which went down well!). I would highly recommend it if you want to get experience working at a busy festival. There are loads of different areas that you can try out ranging from front of house to press to working with venues all across the city. It’s a good opportunity to find out how festivals work.

Something that came across was that it was really important that the people of Edinburgh feel involved and included – and it becomes their Festival. That was really nice and I also felt really valued as a volunteer.

I managed to watch several films too! I would say my highlight was ‘Eaten by Lions’ which tells the story of two brothers who go travelling to find their estranged father. It’s a British made comedy. It was making me laugh so much with my headphones on that my colleague who was also volunteering decided to watch it too!

If you get a chance to volunteer next year I would say go for it! It gives you great experience if you want to learn some skills in PR or front of house, as well as a chance to see what it’s like to work in the industry. I felt really well supported and the staff who interviewed me really listened to what I needed and that’s really important. I’m hoping that if I do it again next year that I can be even more involved.

I think as long as you’re able to put forward what you need in order to take part the staff will do everything they can to accommodate you and make sure that you have a good time and get as much out of the experience as you can. I think it’s important to be upfront and honest about what you need as it’s a very busy few weeks.  If you want to chat about it and find out more, feel free to get in touch!

For more info on the Edinburgh International Film Festival, check out their website.

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