26
Oct
10

HIFF 2010: Diary of a HIFF Volunteer-Oct 21&23

The longer you work, the more your eyes start to play tricks on you.

Well, the 2010 festival is officially in the books, but I’m still got a few more posts to crank out before I can put a bow on it all. Here’s stuff that happened from my final two nights of working the fest:

My first time breaking a sweat . . . occurred on my fourth night of duty.
For whatever reason, the schedule for the night started falling behind. Not sure if it was due to a late start for a couple of films, but I know that a contributing factor was  Q&As for three films in different theaters going into overtime. When this happened, we needed to turn over all of these theaters as fast as possible. A centerpiece film’s Q&A went on until 10 minutes before the next film in that theater was to start. Of course by the time we actually got in we had to blaze through it. Almost immediately after that, we had to turn over Theater 12–another big theater just as fast. Needless to say I basically ran from one theater to the other running through the rows, flipping up arm rests, and collecting trash. Making sure we can move people, frenetically running through the theaters, trying to keep things on track–it’s the stuff event people thrive on. Luckily through a great team effort we didn’t fall that far behind with the schedule as we could have. Running back and forth, it was the first time I broke a sweat at HIFF. It’s not a real event if you don’t sweat it out (literally) I say.

Ripping ballots . . .

Just like turning in entry forms at UH athletic events, turning in HIFF ballots after the film is different for everyone. There are so many ways that people interpret the procedure that each night I worked I literally encountered a new way of voting. I’ve tried to illustrate a few of the ways above. 1) I believe this is the desired and preferred way of voting, you just tear the ballot a little bit along the line for your rating. Pretty straightforward and simple enough right? You would think! 2) This one confused me the most by far. How am I supposed to know what ranking you gave the film if you tore a whole tab out? It could either be a vote of 4 or 5? Sadly I didn’t count these votes as I was unsure of how to count them, but I threw it into the collection envelope anyway in hopes that someone would recount it all and know how to count it. 3) This was another one that I was puzzled by . . . people would rip their ballots completely in half. Not being sure if this was by accident or not, I held onto these pieces in hopes reuniting them with their other halfs. This was never the case at all. I finally realized people were actively doing this when I was holding the ballot box after a film was getting out and as someone passed by they ripped their entire ballot in half and put the smaller portion in the ballot box to cast their vote. Not being sure how they thought this was a good way to do it, these ballots got counted as well. Another way people voted was by actually writing or circling their choice on the ballots. While still others didn’t know how to vote (even though it says to rip your ranking right on each ballot). Needless to say, for every person there, each had his or her own way to rip their ballot.

New addition at Dole . . . Gelato!

Yes, freshly scooped gelato, now playing at Dole Theaters!

Latest discovery at Dole Theaters. Dunno exactly when they put this thing in, but it was definitely a crowd pleaser. Towards the end of my fourth night working I decided that I was going to have some. I have to say it’s definitely one of the better deals at the concession stand at Dole. They have two sizes (small and large) and while you definitely get your money’s worth for each, I say go with the large. At $4.75, it’s definitely worth getting. There’s 10-12 flavors to choose from and you’re not just limited to getting one flavor in your cup, you can get two or three! The banana heath definitely capped off a fun night of working the fest.

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That Chuck Boller guy . . . He seems pretty cool.
Yeah, he’s the executive director for HIFF and you see him around the festival, but as a grunt in the trenches you never really get to (or expect to) have any interaction with people that are that high above your pay grade (we’re volunteers after all). However, my final night working, I had some interaction with the executive director himself. Now let’s not kid ourselves, I did not have a conversation with the guy. To more accurately put it, I shared in a conversation he was having with someone else–and NO, I did not butt in!

Basically, dutiful as always, I was standing outside a theater 7 taking tickets and passing out ballots when two staff members happen to be hanging outside just chatting before starting the film. Mr. Boller came over and started talking with them about the film that was going to be playing and how he was making his rounds talking with sponsors and things of that sort. Through all of this he was facing all of us and pretty much was conversing with all of us. Then the topic turned to the film Room in Rome and he started making jokes about people asking him if he had a DVD of the movie (you’ll get the joking if you check out the movie description here, but basically the gist is that two women spend the night together in Rome). Needless to say this got a few laughs from our small group. Adding to the joviality of the situation I added, “So is that why it’s the last screening of the night?” (referring to the somewhat explicit content of the film) This too got a few more laughs out of us in the group and as he left he said he would see the two staff members later, but he also thanked me and my fellow volunteer for the good work we were doing. Getting the proverbial “pat on the back.” No volunteer job is complete without it. While I wasn’t expecting him to be harsh or anything like that, from the short interaction that I had with Mr. Boller, he definitely seems like a very calm and easy going guy and definitely friendly with everyone I saw him interact with, myself included.

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Getting kicked out of HIFF . . .
Now, I’ve worked a ton of advance screenings, I’ve been to the movies TONS of times, I’ve been to crowded and sold out shows on Friday and Saturday nights, I’ve been to the movies on the mainland, hell, I’ve even waited over 24 hours in line to see a film (several times in fact) . . . but in all that time, I’ve never seen someone physically kicked out of the theater. The closest probably has been when Ward security took down a woman who touched a security guard the wrong way as she was being escourted out of the line of an advance screening. Never though in all my years of moviegoing have I seen the police needing to be called in to remove someone from the theater. Here’s how it happened . . .

Second to last night of HIFF and I was working in front of Theater 7. This girl comes walking down the hall asking where One Kine Day was playing. While ordinarily this wouldn’t be a strange thing, what did make it strange was that she was speaking really loud-almost shouting. The second thing that made it strange was that she was asking these guys that were sitting on one of the benches in the hall (random moviegoers at Dole) this question. Of course not being here for the festival these guys gave her a blank look. However, since I did overhear her asking this question I told her that One Kine Day was playing in Theater 12 on the opposite side of the theater. She obviously needed more direction so me and my fellow volunteer did our best to direct her to the other side of the theater. After she turned and started walking away, one of the guys that was sitting on the bench blurted out “someone’s alll bussss” loud enough for the girl to hear. She seemed to laugh at this in acknowledgement, but what confirmed this guy’s statement was that she was swaying back and forth as she made her way down to the other side of the theater. If she wasn’t drunk, she was definitely on something. Oh, I also forgot to add that she was 30 minutes late for the film at this point.

Anyway, about 20-30 minutes later I found myself on the other side of the theater near Theater 13 when I overheard some staff members talking about a disturbance in Theater 12 (where One Kine Day was playing). Immediately the girl that we encountered earlier came to mind and I asked what was going on. Apparently a girl/woman was yelling inside of Theater 12 and there were people asking her to leave. Long story short, HIFF staff asked her to leave and she wouldn’t. Dole Theater staff asked her to leave, she wouldn’t. Dole security came down and asked her to leave, she wouldn’t. Finally HPD had to be called in.

After about 20 minutes of this I decided to leave since nothing seemed to be happening. However, as I started making my way out of the theater, HPD finally showed up. Went back to Theater 12 to find out that it was in fact the girl from earlier and that she had actually exited the theater and went into the bathroom. The HPD officer went in there and over the course of the next five minutes there was various levels of shouting going on between the girl and the officer.

This my friends is where the story comes to an end. At this point there was a bunch of people hanging around this area waiting for something to be seen (and uploaded to the Internet) when all of us volunteers were dismissed and asked to leave. Of course we were all a bit disappointed as we were all hanging out to see something happen. However, I decided that this was probably the best idea as who knew how much longer we would have to wait around for something to happen. We were getting off early after all. So while I didn’t actually “see” this girl getting kicked out of the theater, with HPD there I’m sure this girl was asked/forced to leave.

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Definitely a great few nights of working the festival coming away with a few stories to tell. Oh what fun you can have volunteering at HIFF!

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