Words from Sundance Staffers: Jon Ho

Hilary Hart January 28, 2010

What is your job at Sundance Film Festival?
Egyptian Theatre.Associate Crowd Liaison (ticket counter and filling out ticket info) for 4 years. Worked on radio with Mother and a floater for 1 year

What do you do the rest of the year?
Work in a hospital in Palo Alto part time. I work under a prop master as a set dresser for Independent or feature films, commercials and industrials. I also work as a producer, location manager, unit production manager for shorts, documentaries or Independent features around the Bay Area.

Why did you decide to start working at SFF?
Luck… Here is the story, I was going to school in San Francisco. A classmate was going to volunteer at Sundance and offered me a place to stay at her uncle’s place if I volunteered. Then all of the sudden, she decided not to go, and then I got a call from Sundance a month before the festival because of my radio experience from volunteering at other film festivals in the Bay Area. I learned that if you have a specific skill Sundance is looking for that it helps you land a position.

If you have worked at SFF in previous years why do you return?
The interaction with other volunteers and potential film makers. I also enjoy going to panel discussions and seminars on new technology and current issues in the film industry. And of course watching films.

What is your most cherished memory from previous festivals?
In order, 1. Volunteering with Egyptian midnight crew team. 2. Visiting Mother (Radio Operations) and hearing Sundance stories. 3. Going to presentations and seminars. 4. The films.

What film are you most looking forward to seeing at SFF?
Three documentaries: 1. Lucky 2. Shock Doctrine 3. Life 2.0. Short and documentary series program.

How many films do you hope to see? Last year it it was two, I spent most of my time in workshops and seminars. Hopefully, I will break my record this year….. I would recommend seeing LUCKY.

What are your strategies for selecting which films to see and getting into screenings?
The bigger the theater, the greater the chance getting into the film you want to see if you are a volunteer.

How does SFF differ from other film festivals that you have attended or worked at?
Perks, getting Sundance gear and having a place to stay . Greater interaction with other volunteers in different venues. A chance to meet Robert Redford which I did this year. Look for me in an official volunteer portrait with Robert Redford and Kenneth Cole. I am in a corner somewhere….hopefully. I make new friends everyday either with a volunteer or a filmmaker.

If you have to choose between going to a film or a party how do you decide what to do?
I would create a third option going to a panel discussion. I am interested in learning more about the independent film industry. But if I only had the two options, I would choose film.

How do you deal with the cold and altitude in Park City?
Double or triple layer my socks depending on the weather. I highly recommend wearing silk hiking socks for your first layer, I have been blister free for five years so far…. Wear layers and always take advantage of places were you can keep warm.

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.