Words from Sundance Staffers: Robyn Arville

Hilary Hart January 27, 2010

What is your job at Sundance Film Festival?
Theater Operations – Yarrow and Prospector Square.

What do you do the rest of the year?
I catch a film at least once a week for the rest of the year!

Why did you decide to start working at Sundance Film Festival?
I’ve been to Sundance as a festivalgoer and patron the past few years. This year, I decided to really immerse myself in the festival and get intimate with what goes on behind the scenes. No regrets, it’s been an amazing experience so far and have even more appreciation and admiration for everything at the film fest…

If you have worked at Sundance Film Festival in previous years why do you return?
No doubt I’ll be returning to work the festival from this point on. It was nice being a festival patron and now that I feel I know even more about Sundance, it’s a great way to give back and show my appreciation for it.

What is your most cherished memory from previous festivals?
Every year is different, the films and film makers have brought such amazing perspectives and inspiring moments and it keeps getting better every year.

What film are you most looking forward to seeing at Sundance Film Festival?
It’s difficult to point out one film I look forward to; there seem to be numerous intriguing films this year! Perhaps HOWL because it’s set in 1957 San Francisco with an intro that says "an American Masterpiece is put on trial"…and a description to boot: "enlisting cinematic vision to capture the Zeitgeist of an era". How can one not want to see that!

If you’ve had a chance to preview any of the festival films, which ones are you recommending to friends?
As of this writing, I’ve seen WASTELAND and FROZEN. Would certainly recommend them to friends.

How many films do you hope to see?
Around 10-12, given that I’m working at the fest this year, I’ll be running to films starting at 8 a.m. and midnight shows!

What are your strategies for selecting which films to see and getting into screenings?
I try and catch films from different categories and genres. From documentaries to premieres, shorts to emerging media bits. The main box office releases tickets everyday, so I usually suggest to folks to check there, we are given vouchers as a benefit to working the festival, so I use them to get into films that spark my interest. Wait list lines do work, because things always come up and people don’t go to films and it’s worth it to check it out.

How does Sundance Film Festival differ from other film festivals that you have attended or worked at?
I won’t compare it to the San Francisco Film Festival! Ours ROCK! :) But Sundance of course has it dialed in, efficient in every which way, from transportation shuttles (free!) to us – the cool festival staff who are friendly, always there to answer questions and give everyone the inside scoop on festival happenings! Every year, there is always something new and innovative, I have to say, the iPhone Sundance 2010 app is a fantastic tool to access all things Sundance!

If you have to choose between going to a film or a party how do you decide what to do?
It depends on what film, what party. The festival is indeed a convergence of film and meeting extraordinary people at parties. I always try and round out my festival experience with not only film and parties but checking out music at the Music Cafe, the panels and discussions at the Filmmaker Lodge from emerging and veteran filmmakers and industry people, new technology and media at the New Frontier on Main. So much to do!

How do you deal with the cold and altitude in Park City?
WATER!!! I always get a tiny migraine when I arrive as I adjust to the altitude. It was hard attending the Staff Party the first night—I could limited myself to one drink :) but the key essential to surviving Park City is lots of water—many thanks for the great Sundance water bottles they provide us! Lots of layers, lip balm, boots! The Sundance jacket by Kenneth Cole given to us staff volunteers are quite warm and cozy.

Will you be back for next year?
Not even a question—YES YES YES!

Hilary Hart, who annually holds down the late-night shift at the Egyptian at the Sundance Film Festival, will be offering interviews with fellow workers from the San Francisco Bay Area during the course of the festival.