I’ve been through the gamete of emotions as a volunteer: I’ve been humbled, inspired, angry, happy, and grateful. I thought I’d experienced the full range until I worked at the Indie Memphis Film Festival and I experienced something else. I felt cool!
At check-in, they handed me an awesome black t-shirt that read “Where Film Gets its Groove” and I got my very official looking volunteer pass. On my walk over to Studio on the Square, several people asked how they could get the same shirt and as you might have guessed they’re only for the volunteers!
But I have to say that beyond the (awesome) shirt and the pass, I felt included among an incredibly talented and dedicated group on a mission to put Memphis on the map for its film reputation. Yet they emphasized another goal. They are building the community of film and video artists in our city. In particular, Sallie Sabbatini told me they want to see a younger crowd involved in the film making community. “It’s a great networking opportunity for our young talent,” Sallie told me. And from what I saw that’s absolutely true.
I want to tell you about Alex. Alex a is a recent high school grad and we talked at length during our shift on Friday afternoon. He told me that his high school didn’t offer film and video courses, so he was entirely self-taught up to this point – I was blown away by his knowledge on the topic! It was so clear that this is what Alex loves. As he was explaining how you transform a book into a movie, the Director of Indie Memphis, Erik Jambor, walked up and heard about Alex’s love of film. In the middle of this huge festival, Erik stopped and talked to Alex about their programming during the weekend. Then Erik said “You should check out our mentoring events on Saturday.” Alex. Lit. Up. Best of all, Saturday was Alex’s birthday.
Indie Memphis is living their mission of drawing in and cultivating talent from around the city. For a day, I got the chance to be part of it and THAT’S why I felt cool.
Even during their busy festival, I felt like an important part of a team. Their volunteer coordinator, Joanna Kelly, was incredibly helpful and easy to get ahold of. With staff and volunteers bustling in and out of what I would describe as command central in Playhouse on the Square, Joanna managed to take my phone call, send me an email and meet me for an interview. You’d be hard-pressed to find that sort of communication at another event of this size. When each volunteer came back from a shift, Joanna took the time to ask how it went and what they could have done better. I just want to say: Yay, Joanna!
Moral of the story? If you want to feel cool and valued, go volunteer with Indie Memphis!
How to Help
In addition to their Film Festival, Indie Memphis needs help year round. They work at events like the Summer Movie Series at the Orpheum and the Free Concert Series at the Levitt Shell.
To volunteer, check out their volunteer site or email Joanna at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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If you’re thinking about volunteering with this organization or in general, but aren’t quite ready to jump in, email me at email@example.com. Thinking about helping is the first step!
What comes after the 30 Days of Mission Memphis? Volunteer Bound! I’m traveling across the country to promote volunteerism and I want to take you with me!