PALM SPRINGS, Calif. --
Moviegoers lined the street outside Regal Cinemas, in Palm Springs, for the annual Palm Springs International Film Festival Jan. 15,2011.
Six Marines made the hour-long ride to volunteer their time and learn about the festival through the Single Marine Program.
“I have never been to a film festival before,” said Pfc. Emmanuel Martinez, a student with Marine Corps Communication-Electronics School. “I didn’t know what they entailed or how they work, so I wanted to come, and I figured volunteering was a good way to get out here.”
Holly Copeland, the festival’s volunteer coordinator, said the volunteers make a monumental difference in a festival of this size.
“[There are] over 800 volunteers with about a tenth of that being paid staff so we couldn’t do the festival without volunteers,” she said. “Every year the festival gets bigger and bigger, so we need more volunteers.”
The SMP has a long tradition of arranging for volunteers aboard the Combat Center for the festival.
“They get to go off base, which is a big deal for them,” said Jan Mason, the SMP driver for the trip. “It is a lot of fun. They are treated very well and have gotten to go to parties afterwards and meet with stars.”
Although the perks are what draw many potential volunteers, others like Martinez said they volunteer for just the joy of helping others.
Whatever the motivation to help, Copeland said they are simply happy for the Marines’ time.
“They are wonderful to work with, and the film festival has a history of working with the Marines,” she said. “They come and are enthusiastic, hardworking, willing to do anything, and they are just a lot of fun to be around. Our other volunteers love working with them, and the moviegoers really enjoy it when the Marines are around.”