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The real stars behind the Sundance Film Festival

PARK CITY, Utah (ABC 4 Utah) - The Sundance Film Festival is coming to a close. It's a huge event that attracts a lot of stars to the beehive state, but some claim the festival's real stars are the friendly faces who volunteer.
PARK CITY, Utah (ABC 4 Utah) - The Sundance Film Festival is coming to a close. It's a huge event that attracts a lot of stars to the beehive state, but some claim the festival's real stars are the friendly faces who volunteer.

When people talk about the stars of Sundance, you may think of A-list celebrities on the red carpet, but if you ask film festival organizers, it's really people like volunteer Michael Bernard.

"You will have to walk right up to that corner street," said Michael Bernard, Sundance volunteer.

Michael Bernard is one of the festival’s more than 1,800 volunteers. They do a little of everything.

"That's our job smiling and helping people around," said Bernard.

"Without the volunteers there'd be no film, there'd be no one to help facilitate loading the theatres, there'd be no one to help facilitate getting on and off the bus... no job is too small or not important enough to have a volunteer involved. They are the life line of this festival," said Whitney Chaney, Sundance Film Festival Volunteer Program Manager.

Sundance is so grateful it created a short film affectionately referred to as “Sundancing.” Earlier this week it ran before each screening. Designer Kenneth Cole who provides a free jacket to each volunteer said the film is a tribute to the people who really cover the festival's back.

"It's our salute to volunteerism and it's our way of acknowledging the real stars of Sundance," said Kenneth Cole, designer.

Volunteers tell ABC 4 Utah they're just happy for the opportunity.

"I thought this would be a great vacation one day," said Bernard.

"I thought it was a good opportunity to see a bunch of free movies," said Kayla Dickensen, volunteer.

"It was kind of a good excuse to skip out of work," said Ashlie Long, volunteer.

Whatever reason they're here, festival organizers hope volunteers like Bernard and others come back to dance another year.

What's interesting, Sundance volunteers come from all over the world to be a part of the festival, but roughly half of them are from Utah.

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