Artists' Television Access

Meet Our Volunteers

Each month, we are featuring interviews with the volunteer staff that make ATA possible, recognizing their work at ATA and their contribution to our vibrant artistic community.

Here is the interview with Cory Wees who runs OpenScreening.


When and why did you start volunteering at ATA?

I live in the Mission and have been taking film classes forever at City College. There were always shows I wanted to see at ATA, but for some reason I always felt like it was a club I didn’t belong to. I decided the best remedy for that was to join the club.

What, if any, other organizations have you been involved with as a volunteer?

I have volunteered in the past for radio stations, mostly in Boise, Idaho. Looks like I may start up with Mutiny Radio in San Francisco soon. There the volunteers actually pay monthly dues to keep the station on the air.

You are currently running the OpenScreening. Can you tell us what OpenScreening is all about?

OpenScreening is essentially an open mic night for filmmakers. Though we definitely encourage filmmakers to submit their short films at least a week in advance, there are almost always a few that show up the night of with a dvd in their hands. One never knows what to expect at Open Screening. We get some very cool experimental films, well-produced narrative shorts and some interesting documentaries. Mail occasionally comes in from far off places as well. It all gets thrown in the mix. Usually things are on the provocative side to the point where we’ve had arguments and heckling among filmmakers of differing points of view. It’s nice to see people who are passionate about what they do. That said, we encourage people to do their own promotion and bring an audience as well.

What have you learned so far?

There is always something shown that makes me go, “Why didn’t I think of that?” Sometimes the simplest films are the most effective. A huge budget and state of the art equipment are not prerequisites to making compelling films.

What makes ATA a great place to volunteer?

It’s amazing that ATA has existed as long as it has and continues to thrive on Valencia street in the midst of the most pronounced gentrification in the city. ATA is the bastard stepchild flipping the bird to corporate consumer culture. Of course, this would not continue if it weren’t for the dedication and hard work of a core of diverse people who are committed to keeping underground film and art alive. I’m proud to be a part of that and encourage others to join in the struggle.

What is the craziest or coolest thing you have seen at ATA?

ATA is a different place every time you walk into it. I’ve seen so many great programs. Not just films, but lectures, bands, DJs and performance art. Craig Baldwin’s Other Cinema series is a huge inspiration too. There is a history going back to the early 80’s rooted in defiance and punk rock, but it’s certainly not limited to that. There are signs of brilliance and progressive thinking at every twist and turn.

Volunteer with ATA!

ATA is looking for volunteers to help with our Gallery and our Screenings. Volunteers run screenings, organize events, curate shows, and get stuff done. Volunteers can come to any ATA show for free. We need people who are creative and reliable.

Email [email protected] and become a part of something good.

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