June's Reel Person
How many Film Society volunteers can say they have had a son or daughter who worked on a film screened at the Festival? If you saw Smoke Signals at the first Festival in 1998, you know that Kay Loysen can. Her son Erik was part of the crew for Smoke Signals, and Kay says she made everyone stay in their seats through the credits so she could clap like crazy when her son’s name appeared. Kay enjoyed the Festival so much she became a volunteer at the next Festival. “I hounded Nancy Kaiser to make sure she included me on the volunteer list”, says Kay.
Kay has been volunteering for the Film Society and watching films with members ever since. During those first years of the Film Society, Kay says everyone who worked so hard to bring the organization and the Festivals together became good friends and that camaraderie and sense of community was important to her as a Sussex newbie. “The Film Society was like a family for me”, she says. “I had just moved here and through volunteering with the Film Society, I became friends with Roz and Morris Fierberg and all the others.”
In the years since, Kay has delivered posters and programs and helped get the newsletters ready for posting, but she says her favorite job is selling tickets at the Festival. “I enjoy seeing friends, speaking with all the people, and helping them with their film choices.” She even made ticket boxes to use during the Festival and enjoyed perfecting the essential fixture with volunteer Don Gardiner.
Kay is a great ambassador for the Film Society with others she meets. “I sorta view it as ‘mine’”, she says. A feeling many volunteers and staff can identify with. But if there was one thing she could change with “her” Film Society, what would it be? “I miss the Art House Theater; it brought us films we wouldn’t otherwise get to see.” (We’re working on that, Kay)
Film Society Executive Director Sue Early says, "Kay's enthusiasm for the Film Festival is contagious and serves to recruit additional volunteers. In addition to volunteering, Kay is able to see an amazing number of films during the Festival; thereby proving her love of film."
When not volunteering or watching films with the Film Society, Kay makes time to travel abroad. This past year Kay went to India and said she was thrilled to speak with people there about two Indian films screened at last year’s Festival. “Everyone there saw Peepli Live” says Kay. In addition to world travels, Kay works part time at Made by Hand in Bethany, and belongs to the book club started by Film Society members. She says “mostly, I’m trying to stay young”. Those of us who have worked and socialized with Kay can attest to the fact that she is achieving that goal. Where to next year, Kay?