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40 Years of Volunteers: Meet Festival Volunteer Nori Huntsman

“[Sundance] is a bright spot in the cold of winter.” – Festival volunteer Nori Huntsman

Dedicated volunteers from across the country have generously devoted their time and commitment to the Sundance Film Festival over the last 40 years. As we celebrate Volunteer Appreciation Day, we’re continuing our volunteer questionnaire series and putting the spotlight on them. Because, just like our volunteers, each memory is special and unique. 

Volunteering at the Sundance Film Festival was always on Nori Huntsman’s bucket list. A Salt Lake City resident, she’s been a year-round volunteer for six years and spent most of her time at the Festival on the Theater Operations crew. It’s safe to say she can now cross that item off her list. 

“It was a crazy [and] chaotic yet organized — a whirlwind of activity. It was so fun,” says Huntsman. “Chaos is my catnip, and Sundance offers a wealth of experiences and encounters. Sundance volunteers and staff are amazing people, and it is my pleasure to see them again.” 

Below, discover Huntsman’s most memorable moment as a volunteer and advice she would give to herself when she joined the team six years ago: 

What compels you to continue volunteering year after year?

Sundance is a welcoming place to meet all kinds of people who are talking about lots of different film genres, and we are all experiencing this event together. I adore seeing first-time filmmakers come to Sundance, family and friends in tow, proud of their creations. Then, sometimes, I get to see them at a later Festival, a little wiser to the film industry with maybe a longer film. 

Which has been your favorite Sundance Film Festival to volunteer at? Why?

Any of them! My first year had a learning curve. The second year, I had time to really enjoy the experience. Now, I meet new and returning staff, volunteers, Festival patrons, and those who create or report on the films of the future. And I’m glad I’m still here.

Tell us one of your favorite memories volunteering at Sundance.

It was a Local Lens showing of Fire of Love at Red Butte Garden Amphitheatre in Utah. The sun was setting, sending red and purple shadows from the mountains, and the fire dancers were a special treat, enjoyed by us all in the waning moments of dusk. It felt like a tribute to the memory of Katia and Maurice Krafft, the subjects of the documentary.

What do you think the best part about being a Sundance Film Festival volunteer is?

Being able to see films through the eyes of Festivalgoers. They are eager to share their experience. That enhances mine.

Can you tell us about some of the friendships you’ve made at Sundance over the years?

Some are friends I greet once a year, every year; some I see far more. I stay connected with some via social media, and many of us volunteer for more than one organization. My life is richer for the experience.

If you could go back in time and give advice to your younger self getting ready for your first year of volunteering, what would you say?

Make sure you have a plan B if Trax isn’t running when your shift is over. Drink water. Drink a LOT of water. You’ve got this. You’re good.

Out of all the staff/volunteer jackets you’ve received, which one is your favorite?

Purple, then teal, then camo. I missed out on the removable sleeves era. Darn it!

What’s one piece of advice you’d give to a first-time volunteer at the Festival?

Have fun and take advantage of any perks offered. You deserve them!

Check back regularly for more volunteer stories during the Festival. And if you’re interested in joining the team, check out our volunteer opportunities here.