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 Kelly Pendergrast, who is one of ATA’s programmers.
Can you tell us a little about your background prior to volunteering at ATA?
I’m from New Zealand and moved to California in 2005 to do my MFA.
How did you first become involved with ATA?
When I moved up to San Francisco I already knew I wanted to volunteer at ATA. I remember visiting SF and walking past a big huddle of people waiting to go into a show at ATA, and I thought it looked cool. Then it turned out a friend I met at grad school in San Diego was a long time ATA volunteer, and he totally sold me on it as an awesome space and great community.
You are part of the programming team. What does your job as a programmer entail?
It depends on the week. At the moment GAZE is taking over lots of my programming energy, but in general as a programmer I fill the inquiries from folks who are interested in screening their work at ATA as well as solicit work and programs from filmmakers I like. I work with the programming team to watch and select programs or pieces we think will work well, and then collaborate with the artists to plan and execute screenings. So: part curating, part admin, and part hassling filmmakers to send us their promo blurbs for the website…
You are also co-curating the film series Gaze. Can you tell us what Gaze is all about?
GAZE is a film series that screens moving image work made by women. That’s the short version. We run a quarterly screening series with an open & ongoing call for entries. We think that women are (still) underrepresented in the independent film and video world and now that the Bay Area is down one women’s film program with the end of MadCat, it’s important to have a space for the community of Bay Area women filmmakers. Speaking only for myself, I am sick of watching an endless parade of films by men (even men whose films I love) and I’m pretty invested in screening as many women filmmakers as possible.
Why is ATA important to the community? And to you?
ATA is maybe the only space in San Francisco where pretty much anyone can come in and screen their work to the public. We’re not snobs, we favor independent makers over big names, and we’re a little pocket of crusty weird resilience right in the middle of Valencia Street. For me personally, ATA is where I met some of my best San Francisco friends and discovered some of the best local filmmakers.
What makes ATA a great place to volunteer?
Meet people, learn stuff, see shows, and always have a place to pee when you’re in the Mission.
What is the craziest or coolest thing you have seen at ATA so far?
I have special fond memories of seeing Metal Rouge, Paul Clipson and (New Zealand compatriots) the Parasitic Fantasy Band putting on the most awesome expanded cinema/multiple projector/experimental soundz performance back in…. 2009? Also the 5th Annual ATA Film and Video fest where we handed out chromatic jello shots, smashed a piñata, and ordered a batch of chromadepth glasses for Kerry Laitala’s handmade 3D film.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org and become a part of something good.