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Volunteer Spotlight: John Mitsch

john mitsch(SFF Volunteer, John Mitsch, on his way to pick up talent.)

Every filmmaker, talent, jury member, director or producer will be picked up from the airport by one of our Transportation Volunteers. For over 10 years, John Mitsch has shown up to the airport wearing his black Sarasota Film Festival polo and his long hair in a ponytail, ready to greet SFF guests with his huge grin and his blue, warm eyes. Thank you John for your many years of commitment.


Where were you born and raised?

I was born in Reading, Ohio, a small town 15 minutes outside of Cincinnati.

What brought you to Sarasota?

10 inches of snow.

You work at Geier's and they have some very delicious products there, what are you favorites? Any recommendations?

I have been at Geier's for 17 years. My favorites are smoked Hungarian sausage and the Hot Italian sausage, you would like any of them. Our salami products are excellent as well.

When are you not working or volunteering, what is the perfect weekend for you in Sarasota? I am sure boating or baseball would be involved in this weekend?

Yes, I would take the boat out and go fishing and just relax. I also would work outside in my garden, taking care of my roses.

You have three daughters, can you tell me a little bit about them?

My oldest daughter Amy lives in Ohio with her two children, Rylee and Jake. My daughter Tatum lives and work in New York City as a nanny and in a tattoo parlor. She will soon be getting back into the fashion industry. My daughter Destiny is also in New York City studying baking at the Culinary Institute of America.


I am pretty sure you started volunteering with us 10 years ago, am I right? What urged you to volunteer at the Sarasota Film Festival?

Maybe longer. I started when my friend was driving for the Festival and they needed more drivers. Being able to drive celebrities with a new Mercedes...I said yes. I loved it and have been volunteering ever since.

I remember you telling me two years ago, that you take your one week vacation to come volunteer for us because you enjoy it that much. This has stuck in my mind. You volunteer in Transportation for SFF, what do you enjoy most about this department?

I really enjoy being with the filmmakers and hearing about their films. I enjoy being a tour guide for the Sarasota Film Festival. I take my vacation time so I can volunteer as much as possible and help with the VIPs.

You have been involved with Transportation for many years at SFF, I am sure you have an interesting or funny story you would like to share?

One time I was picking up Jason Momoa, his mother and a Producer at the Longboat Key Club and taking them to the Hollywood 20 for his film screening. The traffic was really bad and it looked like we were going to be late for the screening. Jason's mother said from the backseat, "Does this car have a motor in it?" I said, "Well, yes." She said, "Let's use it and let's go!" I couldn't help but laugh.


Why is independent film important to you?

It is important because it's the start of their careers for some of these filmmakers. I tell them that when they make it big and win an Oscar, to remember to thank their driver from the Sarasota Film Festival.

What was one of your favorite films growing up?

It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World. It's funny and there are great actors.

What actor would play you in the movie about your life and why?

Johnny Depp because he is outgoing and crazy like me.

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