Local Hero: Grace Mosqueda, L.A. Film Fest’s Volunteer-Wrangler
Grace Mosqueda has been coordinating the hundreds of people who volunteer to help out at the L.A. Film Fest since 2011.
HOW IT’S DONE
“We have about six weeks before the festival to prepare for the volunteers,” says Mosqueda. “We start recruiting and doing publicity for the festival and put out the call.” She says a lot of interest comes from the LAFF website, and the org recruits at local universities and career fairs, while also reaching out to L.A.-based nonprofits. “We have a big student contingent, but our volunteers come from all walks of life, and we get people of all ages who just want to be involved,” says Mosqueda, adding that word of mouth is a great recruiting tool. “So many volunteers bring their friends to work at the festival.”
“One volunteer — she’s a flight attendant who comes back every year — takes her vacation time to work for the festival. She’ll get a hotel room near L.A. Live and treat herself while she’s volunteering,” Mosqueda says. “It’s fun to meet the volunteers; we feed off their energy.”
While it may not be very exciting, one of the most important parts of Mosqueda’s job is making sure the volunteers understand how to sign up for their shifts, which is all done online. But a bigger challenge comes during the festival, if volunteers don’t show. “The festival is 11 days, and sometimes volunteers sign up and then cancel their shifts, and filling those open spots is always a scramble,” Mosqueda says.
Mosqueda began as an LAFF volunteer in 2007. She also has worked as a staffing coordinator at a TV production shingle, a recruiter at the Walt Disney Co., and volunteer manager at the Sundance Film Festival.
She is also the associate shorts programmer at the LAFF.
Name: Grace Mosqueda
Title: Volunteer coodinator for the L.A. Film Festival
Function: Recruits and trains volunteers and interns to work the fest
Domain: L.A. Live, where the festival unspools
Years on the job: Third year overseeing volunteers; seventh year working for the festival
Number of volunteers overseen: More than 600 each year
Number of interns overseen: 70 each year
(Local Hero is a tribute to the people who are invisible but invaluable: They’re not in the spotlight, but the biz couldn’t function without them.