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When first-time Sundance filmmakers ask me for advice on attending the festival, I always tell them, “Get to know the volunteers.” Park City can be a difficult place to navigate. Seasoned vets already know the tricks for making their way around, and sage guidance from the volunteers can be the only for newcomers to level the playing field.

But there’s another reason I recommend people get to know the volunteers. And that’s because they’re really interesting people. While a lot of festivals rely on recently graduated local students whose ranks turn over every year, Sundance has a cadre of volunteers, young and old and from all over the country, who block out the last two weeks of January for work that is intense but also rewarding.

This year Kenneth Cole and Filmmaker are creating video portraits of five Sundance volunteers. The first, shot and edited by Jamie Stuart, is below. Meet Jeff Aguirre, who has been volunteering at the festival since 1993. In his normal life, this writer, photographer and film editor has worked at places like Bravo and the Independent Film Channel. And while he first volunteered “on a lark,” he now finds that the festival has returned diverse rewards, including experience that has sent him to other festivals around the world, including Dubai.

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