Thank you for your interest in volunteering for the Traverse City Film Festival! Volunteers could not be more essential in making the festival happen!

The following information is for existing and potential volunteers.

Our Commitment to You
Your Commitment to Us
Volunteer Application
Volunteer Job Descriptions
Volunteer Survival Tips
How to Sign Up

Please call the festival at 231-392-1134.

Our Commitment to You:

  • We will do our best to make the hard work of volunteering fun. Our goal is to provide a positive and friendly atmosphere in which everyone is treated with courtesy and respect as we come together to create an exciting event that celebrates the movies and the incredible Traverse City community.
  • During the festival, you will have access to festival managers, staff, and the volunteer coordinator who can answer your questions and help you find venues and volunteer assignments. You can also call the TCFF Office at 231-392-1134 for assistance.
  • You will receive advance notice of volunteer meetings by email, along with other important announcements including some special perks. Please make sure your email address is accurate in the volunteer system by logging in here.

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Your Commitment to Us:

  • We ask you to commit to a minimum of 12 hours (2-3 shifts) during the festival. You need to attend a volunteer meeting and/or orientation and receive your volunteer credentials before your first festival shift.
  • You need to sign a volunteer waiver when you get your credentials before the festival.
  • Out-of-town volunteers are responsible for their own lodging, transportation, food, and other personal expenses.
  • During the festival you will not be able to view movies while on duty unless your Area Manager or Supervisor allows you to do so – please do not plan to watch films during your shifts. Most of the time we need our volunteers during screenings for many tasks. Please purchase tickets to the films you want to see rather than planning to watch films during your shift, and please do plan to attend the volunteer screening on the Monday before the festival.

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Volunteer Application

We prefer that you apply using our online application. Please do not sign up for more shifts that you are actually willing and able to work.

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Volunteer Job Descriptions

There are a variety of volunteer assignments available before, during, and after the film festival. Most festival venue volunteer shifts available for signup online include roles in ushering, concessions, and merchandise. Additional volunteer opportunities may require special training or skills, so make sure that you are already trained (or are prepared to attend training) for any role you may wish to pursue.

* Flexibility and a sense of humor are excellent assets!
* You must be 16 years of age or older to volunteer. Volunteers under 18 must have proof of their date of birth, and written permission of a parent or guardian, and assignments may be limited.


  • Assist in admitting patrons to venues
  • Line management
  • Take tickets at venues
  • Assist patrons in finding seats
  • Clean venues after showings
  • Distrubute and collect ballots and festival literature
  • Respond to patrons’ needs during screenings
  • Straighten up public areas during shows

Open Space Ushers

  • Crowd control
  • Set up/Clean up
  • Light security—control prohibited items/activities


  • Inventory
  • Sales
  • Clean up/set up concession stands
  • Popcorn preparation
  • Reconcile cash/inventory


  • Inventory
  • Sales
  • Clean-up/set-up
  • Reconcile cash/inventory

Information Ambassadors (NOTE: attendance at an additional interactive training session is highly recommended)

The film festival strives to promote public transportation to limit the event’s environmental impact and reduce traffic to downtown Traverse City. We encourage festivalgoers to use the Free Festival Shuttle Loop to attend movies and our Information Ambassadors are crucial to this effort. Many residents and visitors are unfamiliar with the Festival Loop and will need assistance. This is a very interactive assignment and all Information Ambassador volunteers receive a special volunteer tshirt.

Responsibilities include:

  • Advising festivalgoers about the bus route
  • Answering questions about the film festival and Traverse City
  • Offering other information as requested
  • Helping festival-goers board the buses
  • Riding the shuttle busses and directing patrons along the route

Box Office (NOTE: additional training required/cash handling experience preferred)

  • Staff box offices before and during festival
  • Provide directions to venues and information about films and events


  • Answer phones/route calls
  • Staff office during festival
  • Typing/filing/administration/data entry
  • Run errands/purchase supplies and equipment
  • Relay information to and from venues/management/office
  • Support for board and staff members
  • Dispatch volunteers as directed
  • Staff credential tables for volunteers, media, dignitaries

Parties and Events

  • Set up/tear down/cleaning
  • Greeting and admissions
  • Food and beverage service and assistance (TIPS certified preffered)

Hospitality/Green Room

  • Greeters at venues
  • Guest service assistance for festival filmmakers
  • Assist with special seating requests
  • Staff Green Rooms and festival guest areas
  • Set up/cleaning
  • Monitor catering
  • Make coffee, etc.

Transportation (must have valid, unrestricted DL or CDL; may use personal, rental, or donated vehicles including passenger vans, pick up trucks, box trucks, passenger cars)

  • Vehicle support for all areas
  • Transportation and assistance for festival filmmaker guests
  • Operations transport
  • Print traffic
  • Concessions and merchandise support
  • Run errands by request

Photography and Videography (NOTE:please contact TCFF office to see if volunteer assignments are still available.)

  • Capture festival moments and events for archival and promotional use
  • Produce original content for festival use

Stage Support (NOTE: additional training required – please contact TCFF office to see if volunteer assignments are still available.)

  • Panel assistance
  • Stage management


  • Receive, sort, inventory, and distribute festival merchandise, concessions, and supplies

Stage Services (NOTE: additional training required – please contact TCFF office to see if volunteer assignments are available. Construction/carpentry skills and heavy lifting required, must be available pre and post Festival)

  • Lift, carry, move equipment, supplies, materials
  • Set up/tear down equipment, projection booths, seating, open space
  • Construction needs at all venues

Production Services (NOTE: additional training required – please contact TCFF Office to see if volunteer assignments are still available. Technical experience preferred)

  • Print traffic (moving films to and from venues)
  • Projectionist assistance
  • Operate spotlights
  • Lighting and sound support at all venues

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Volunteer Survival Tips


Wear loose, comfortable, presentable clothing. Shorts, pants, skirts, and jeans with no holes are perfectly acceptable apparel for the event. Keep in mind that you will be on your feet during your shift, so make sure you select clothing that is comfortable. (Click here if you would like a visual aid.)

Clothing DON’Ts:

  • Crop tops or belly-revealing shirts
  • Skin-tight (lycra, spandex, bike pants, etc.) pants or shorts
  • Low-riding pants (no undergarments showing, please)
  • Very short or micro shorts
  • Muscle shirts
  • Anything with holes



You may bring your own water, juice, or other beverages. Consumption of alcoholic beverages while on duty is strictly prohibited.

If you are an usher and have an extra flashlight to bring along, it will come in very handy.

Bring rain gear and sun protection, as necessary, if you are scheduled to work at an outdoor venue or area.


We cannot guarantee a secure area for you to store personal belongings, so do not bring any valuables or large or bulky items. You should plan to only bring what you can fit in your pockets and/or a small bag.

Cell phones and electronic devices must be turned off or silenced during screenings.

Children are not allowed to be with you while you are on duty. Please make other arrangements for your children during your shift.

As volunteers, you are the goodwill ambassadors for this event, so DON’T FORGET TO SMILE!


The festival’s success depends on volunteers. If you can’t make your shift for some reason, please let us know.

We ask that you arrive ON TIME for your shifts.

You must bring your credentials to each shift you work, and you must wear your volunteer tshirt.

This one is very important and comes directly from the Board of Directors: Please DO NOT wear your volunteer tshirt during the festival when you are not working. It is very confusing to patrons who have purchased tickets to find people sitting in seats wearing volunteer tshirts. Patrons think you are volunteering and taking up their seats!

Please bring a change of clothing if you plan to attend the festival before or after a shift.

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  1. Many people prefer to sign up online. Just log in to our website in the volunteer area – if you can’t remember your username and password, the site will send it to you, or you can email
    But please remember:
  2. You do NOT have to sign up online!

Other options:

  • Call the festival office Monday-Friday from 9 am to 5 pm: 231-392-1134
  • We can assign you shifts or explore other areas you are interest in volunteering at

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