As a non-profit cultural and educational organization, the work of Cinema/Chicago, the presenting organization of the Chicago International Film Festival, would not be possible without the dedication and exuberance of our volunteers. We are grateful for the continual commitment and support of our volunteer teams that make our range of programs possible.
Want to join our superstar team?
If you are 18 years of age or older, we want you to join the volunteer team at the Chicago International Film Festival, where you can be part of the oldest competitive film festival in North America, which is dedicated to serving Chicago’s diverse and under-served citizenry by providing access to world-class cinema.
After you have volunteered at the festival, you are welcome to join us year-round for our diverse programs, including the international screenings program, education screenings, television festival, and cine-youth festival for young and emerging filmmakers.
Our brilliant and committed volunteer teams are the core of what makes the work of Cinema/Chicago and the Chicago International Film Festival possible year, after year.
Ready to do it? Sign up here today
Perks of Volunteering
- Be part of the longest-running competitive film festival in North America, and one of the most passionate volunteer teams around.
- Meet and network with fellow filmmakers and film lovers.
- See free movies: for every shift you volunteer, you will receive a voucher for a free screening during the festival.
- Score a free festival t-shirt and be entered in daily raffles for prizes and festival merchandise.
- Receive a Certificate of Appreciation from the State of Illinois (volunteer 25+ hours before/during the 2019 festival).
- Get a six-month Cinema/Chicago membership (Dec-April) (volunteer 30+ hours before/during the 2019 festival).
- Get a year-long Cinema/Chicago membership (volunteer 30+ hours before/during the 2019 festival).
Film Festival Volunteers are vital in a variety of roles both before and during the festival. The roles below are a sample of the opportunities festival volunteers may have, but new opportunities may also arise.
Office Support: Assist various departments with assembly of festival materials, copies, and organization.
Membership Mailings: Assist Membership Manager in assembly of mailing packets, stamping, and sealing of envelopes to members of Cinema/Chicago.
Street Team: Distribute Festival Guides in surrounding neighborhoods; Perform drops at local businesses, hand out guides at markets and outdoor events.
Theatre Set-Up: Help us get the AMC River East ready for the festival in the days leading up to this year’s fest!
During the Festival
Airport Greeter: Accompany festival drivers to O’hare Airport to be the first to greet our filmmakers and festival guests to the City of Chicago!
“Ask Me” floater: Move around the space, identifying customers who seem to need direction, answer inquiries, direct patrons to box office, rush line, membership table, merchandise table, information table nearest restrooms; answer questions about screening times and locations, aid patrons who may need accessible seating. If you do not have any requested information find another volunteer or member of the staff who does.
Education Screening Assistant: Assist with loading CPS students in and out of theaters for our morning education screenings – similar to Theater Ops, but with a younger audience that is not allowed to purchase concessions!
Hospitality Assistant: Assist hospitality in meeting needs of festival guests, check-in guests at hospitality suite.
Industry Days Assistant: Assist Industry Days team with check-in, and all other needs at Industry Days events. Note: Industry Days is located off-site, and runs from Oct. 17-20.
Information Table Assistant: *Seated. Manage the information table. Answer guests’ questions, direct moviegoers to the box office, theaters, membership table, merchandise table, restrooms, etc. Provide information about programming and show times. Provide parking validation vouchers for guests, staff and volunteers.
Line Assistant/Crowd Control: Help with rush lines, scanning tickets, expedite lines, arrange and double lines when needed, crowd control lines on Level 2.
Membership Table: *Seated. Answer questions about becoming a member of Cinema/Chicago, discuss membership perks and benefits, pass out pamphlets and membership materials.
Merchandise Table: *Seated. Assist Merchandise Manager in selling festival merchandise.
Rush Line Assistant: Give numbered ticket to patrons waiting in rush line, stand rush line in chronological order; if seats are available 10 minutes prior to show time, patrons may exchange their numbered ticket, along with cash for regular screening ticket; rush tickets are Cash Only. Remind patrons that receiving a numbered ticket does NOT guarantee a seat; remind patrons that rush seating is on a first-come, first-serve basis; remind patrons that rush seats may not be located right next to each other.
Special Event Operations: Off-site volunteer positions at different restaurants and venues around the city. Many of these shift require you to be 21+. Some of these shifts start and end later in the evening.
Theater Operations: Assist with house lines, rip ticket stubs at entrance, click for headcount, handout ballots and pencils, turnover theater, collecting and organizing ballots. NOTE: It is at the Theater Manager’s sole discretion to seat on-shift volunteers during a screening. IF the shift is slow and seats are available, your Theater Manager may allow you to sit in the rear of the screening until there is work for you.
Ticket Scanner: Scan all patron tickets as they head up to the 3rd floor of the AMC River East for their screenings, welcome and direct them to the correct theater.
VR Assistant: Assist with festival staff in loading patrons into VR cinema experience, guiding them through the tech set-up, and ensuring their physical safety throughout.