"Steve Polta is an occasional writer, occasional archivist, occasional historian and former taxi driver, living in the San Francisco Bay Area. He is also the Archivist and Artistic Director of San Francisco Cinematheque. He is the co-founder and current curator of Cinematheque’s annual Crossroads film festival. In 2014 he was awarded a Curatorial Research Fellowship from the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts for the study of contemporary and historic performance cinema which resulted in Perpetual Motion, an extensive series of live cinema performance presented un San Francisco in Fall 2016. He holds an MFA from the San Francisco Art Institute and a Masters of Library and Information Science from San José State University."
Their mission is that:
"San Francisco Cinematheque cultivates the international field of non-commercial artist-made cinema. San Francisco Cinematheque inspires aesthetic dialog among artists, stimulates critical discourse, and encourages appreciation of artist-made cinema across the broader cultural landscape."
Crossroads 2022 is the thirteenth manifestation of Cinematheque’s annual film festival, this year the festival features 67 works of film, video and performance by 71 artists representing 18 countries and territories presented in 10 curated programs.
I chat to Steve about his journey into experimental film, the alternative film and video scene in San Francisco in the 1990's, his approach to curating Crossroads and the significance of artist-run film labs.
Some of the artists, films, people, books and oraganisations mentioned include:
‘Wavelength’ by the Canadian Filmmaker Michael Snow from 1967.
Professor Robert Harris, at Palomar College in San Marcos.
The book Independent Filmmaking by Lenny Lipton from 1972, with an introduction by Stan Brakhage.
Anthology Film Archives in New York, an international centre for the preservation, study, and exhibition of film and video, with a particular focus on independent, experimental, and avant-garde cinema.
Bruce Baillie, the American filmmaker and founding member of Canyon Cinema in San Francisco. Kenneth Anger, Stan Brakhage, Lenny Lipton and Jon Jost.
Pacific Film Archive, the visual arts centre of the University of California, Berkeley.
Craig Baldwin’s Other Cinema and also his 1991 film Tribulation 99.
People Steve mentions from the mid-1990’s scene include Scott Stak and Greta Snider.
The book Radical Light: Alternative Film and Video in the San Francisco Bay Area, 1945-2000.
E6 colour reversal kits for home processing.
There’s a good list of artist-run film labs here.
Richard Tuohy and Dianna Barrie.
Views from the Avant Grade programme at New York Film Festival.
Wavelengths at Toronto International Film Festival
Ann Arbor Film Festival - listen to our interview with Executive Director Leslie Raymond here.
Experimental film and installation artist Jason Moyes lives and works in rural Scotland and has been exploring the moving image since 2007. His work has been shown in the UK, North America, Europe and Asia. He is a founding member of the Moving Image Makers Collective.