If you attend the Traverse City Film Festival (TCFF) this week you will notice that things run pretty smoothly.
You can thank the hundreds of volunteers who donate thousands of hours to make the TCFF one of the best film festivals in the world.
Dave Poinsett is the venue manager at the State Theatre during Film Fest week. He is one of those typical volunteers, a movie buff, community minded and a working professional who takes a week’s vacation to volunteer.
“I love every minute of it. This has been one of the most exciting adventures I have been on,” said Poinsett. “I consider it my civic duty to be involved. The TCFF and the State Theatre means so much to this community and the region.”
MAN OF MANY TALENTS
Poinsett has lived in the area since 1973. He is the research and development manager for the R.M. Young Company that produces precision weather instruments for a worldwide customer base. He designs the electronics that go into the instruments and writes the operating software for the electronics. In his spare time he is the lead guitarist for the Fresh Fossils an eclectic rock and blues band that performs in the area.
After attending the first TCFF in 2005 he was hooked.
“You would have thought they had been putting on film festivals for years -- everything went so smooth and seamless. I knew I wanted to get involved but other projects were in the way,” said Poinsett. “Finally my schedule cleared up and I started volunteering at the State Theatre when it was renovated in 2007 and then with the Film Festival in 2008.”
For Poinsett and the other volunteers, this is a labor of love and most have no idea how many hours they donate.
“I have no idea and don’t care. The other day we figured that there will be more than 2,000 volunteer hours put in during Film Fest week at the State Theatre alone,” said Poinsett. “During the Film Fest my shift is from 12:30 pm to 9:30 pm but I have no idea how many hours I put in leading up to the Festival as there are many weeks of preparation. Plus, there are things I do before and after my shift. For me -- and really for every volunteer -- this truly is a labor of love.”
So how many movies does Poinsett get to watch during the TCFF?
“As far as watching films, last year I was able to watch two. We try to set it up so that managers can see movies. My schedule this year is such that I may not get to see a movie, but some of these films will be back so I will get to seem them later.”
But Poinsett is not concerned about watching films. Like the hundreds who volunteer, the rewards of the TCFF come from the expressions and comments of the thousands who attend.
“We really work hard to make this a great experience for everyone involved, from the volunteers and filmgoers to our visiting filmmakers and celebrities and sponsors,” said Poinsett. “The thank you’s and positive comments all make every minute worth while. Our visiting filmmakers and celebrities all rave about the TCFF, Traverse City and how friendly it is, the great food. I have not visited many theaters, but these filmmakers, many who have traveled the world, say they have never seen anything like the State Theatre.”
Poinsett also knows that the work he and the other volunteers do is having a huge impact on the region.
“I am amazed that our small community has something of this level of cultural significance happening. It is really cool. The TCFF has an impact on everyone from the citizens to the business owners, it adds so much to the area.”