Interview by Parker O’Brian
Over a thousand dedicated film-lovers volunteer their time and talents to make VIFF possible. From our year-round cinema to our annual festival, volunteers are vital to the success of VIFF – we simply couldn’t do what we do without their skill and dedication.
This month, we shine a light on VIFF Year-Round volunteer Janice Walter, who coordinates the scheduling for our fantastic front-of-house theatre volunteer team.
PO’B – Hi Janice. Thanks for meeting with me today. Let’s start with some background information about yourself.
JW – Okay. I was born in North Burnaby and have lived in the Greater Vancouver area all my life. I graduated from UBC with a bachelor’s degree in commerce and worked in sales & marketing for much of my career. Currently, I work with my father, managing a company called A B Seating that manufactures custom booths for restaurants.
PO’B – I understand you live in a very interesting building. What makes it so unique?
JW – It’s a 12-suite heritage building at the corner of Pender and Heatley in Strathcona. Before it was converted into condos, it was home to Vancouver’s first Jewish synagogue — B’nai Yehuda (Sons of Israel) — built in 1907.
PO’B – What a small world! My 99-year-old father, who moved to Vancouver in the 1920s from Poland, attended the B’nai Yehuda synagogue when he was a boy. He’ll be very excited to hear that you live there.
JW – I love living in a place with so much history. In fact, the building is a regular stop on Jewish and architectural walking tours. It’s not uncommon to look out my window and see groups of people staring at the building.
PO’B – Now, let’s turn to your work with VIFF.
JW – I began attending the festival about 25 years ago and volunteering in year round concessions when the Vancity Theatre opened in 2005. For the past 3 years, I’ve been scheduling the front-of-house volunteers and conducting some of the orientations.
PO’B – I imagine that scheduling can be tricky at times.
JW – It can be. There’s the odd occasion when I have trouble filling a slot. But overall the volunteers are great and come through when needed.
PO’B – Any other interests you’d like to share?
JW – I love photography and architecture. In fact, I primarily take pictures of buildings.
PO’B – And finally, do you have a favourite movie?
JW – That’s a tough one. There’s so many. Off the top of my head, I’d have to say Blue, The Big Lebowski, and Withnail & I.
Become a VIFF Year Round Volunteer! Get involved with our amazing core volunteer teams and help us bring independent cinema to Vancouver all year-long http://goviff.org/volunteer