The Seattle International Film Festival (SIFF), held annually in Seattle, Washington, is the largest film festival in the United States, and among the top film festivals in the world. Audiences have grown steadily; the 2006 festival had 160,000 attendees. SIFF runs for more than three weeks (24 days) in May-June, and features a diverse assortment of predominantly independent and foreign films and, in recent years, a strong contingent of documentaries.
SIFF 2006 included 300+ films and was the first SIFF to include a venue in neighboring Bellevue, Washington since an ill-fated early attempt. However, in 2008, the festival was back to being entirely in Seattle, and had a slight decrease in the number of feature films.
Being the largest film festival in North America, SIFF is active in the Seattle community and requires thousands of interns, hourly workers, and volunteers to provide many thousands of human hours for festival operations. Volunteers and other workers can register to get involved and participate by using online scheduling with the SIFF Shiftboard Site provided by Shiftboard to make is easier to select roles, meet coordinators, pick up and cancel SIFF-related work online, year-round.
I went to the volunteer meeting to find out what I need to know. I have previously volunteered for the Chicago International Film Festival and the AFI Film Festival. Each of the different departments got up and talked about their group and what they would need in terms of volunteers.
It was a bit surprising. Most of the departments require resume and degrees to even be considered. They need 7000 people to make the festival work and people get paid in movie passes which are good year round since they do random screenings in the off season.
I thought this might be a good place to meet people like myself who were interested in movies. From the few people I talked to and the overheard conversations, these people were weird. They weren't excited about the movie part. They were excited about the volunteering part.
Best way I can relate it is people who like hanging out at Blockbuster, but don't like renting movies. They just like the store. It was weird.
All of the volunteering is signed up for online and they have a huge system with message boards and all kinds of crazy technology. I was going to volunteer in the equivalent of the AV Club, but in order to video tape the Q&A sessions, you need to have your own professional equipment. I need to look into being a photographer for them as soon as I get my camera.
The festival this year is May 21-June 14th. I probably won't see anything unless I get in as a volunteer.
UPDATE: I have my camera and have applied to be one of the photographers. I am waiting for a response.