Words from Sundance Staffers: Ashley Soares

Hilary Hart January 28, 2010

What is your job at Sundance Film Festival?
Film Office Coordinator, Midnight and NEXT

What do you do the rest of the year?
I suppose you could call me a Festival Carny. Since early 2009 I have been jumping from festival to festival working in departments such as Publicity, Marketing, Film Office or Guest Services. I’m hoping this trend will continue, it’s a whole lot of fun!

Why did you decide to start working at Sundance Film Festival?
Because of all the CELEBRITIES!!! Just kidding, the Sundance Film Festival is a well oiled machine and I honestly wanted to see their inner workings and learn from the pros. Some of their seasonal staff have been coming back for over 10 years! I find this inspiring and inviting.

If you have worked at Sundance Film Festival in previous years why do you return?
This is my first year, but I’ve heard many enticing stories.

What is your most cherished memory from previous festivals?
My festival career was born at the San Francisco International Film Festival, so I have numerous fond memories there. Running my first red carpet and press line at SFIFF52 really stands out.

What film are you most looking forward to seeing at Sundance Film Festival?
BOY from director Taika Waititi (Eagle vs. Shark, 2007).

If you’ve had a chance to preview any of the festival films, which ones are you recommending to friends?
All the NEXT and Midnight films are awesome, everyone should check those out!

How many films do you hope to see?
One? Yeah, if I can have time for just one film during the festival that would be wonderful. Two or three would be splendid!

What are your strategies for selecting which films to see and getting into screenings?
I tried to get tickets early for films with lots of buzz, since those are likely to sell out the quickest. Even if my job prevents me from using all those tickets, I can at least know I have the option. Besides that, I plan to jump into some waitlist lines to see others. People have a decent shot of getting into a screening if they show up about two hours early to get a number in the line, so I’m gonna take a chance… If I get the time, of course.

How does Sundance Film Festival differ from other film festivals that you have attended or worked at?
The most obvious difference would have to be the sheer volume of attendees and guests Sundance brings to Park City. The entire place transforms before your eyes as 40,000 people descend on the mountain. I’ve also never seen a festival with so many highly functional departments. This place has it down.

If you have to choose between going to a film or a party how do you decide what to do?
I suppose it would depend on the film… and the party. If the film or panel supported the filmmakers in my categories I’d be more inclined to do that than to attend a party. Same goes for the latter, if one of my NEXT filmmakers wanted me to accompany him/her to an event then I would choose that over seeing a film for my own pleasure. In a nutshell, tending to my guests comes first.

How do you deal with the cold and altitude in Park City?
Multiple layers, hot tea, lots of water, and good company.

Will you be back for next year?
I certainly hope so, it’s been a blast!

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.