Outside of being a rockstar bassist herself, Ana Gomez (C ‘23) did not expect one first–year CIMS class to remarkably rock her world. Now as co–director of SPEC Jazz and Grooves and president of the Kinoki Senior Society, Ana helps coordinate much of the rockstar concerts at Penn from 100 gecs to Luna Li and Talia Goddess. Her experience and expertise in entertainment does not stop there. Ana channels her love for film, music, and creativity as an intern for A24 and Warner Bros. as well as an attendee of the 2022 Cannes Film Festival in France. As a member of both Penn and Philly’s community of film–lovers and music–groovers, Ana hopes this community is not only here to stay, but also here to grow.
Name: Ana Gomez
Hometown: Miramar, Fl.
Major/Minor: Cinema and Media Studies and Communications
Activities: SPEC Jazz and Grooves, Kinoki Senior Society, Wharton Undergraduate Media and Entertainment Club
What sparked your love for film and entertainment?
I've always been a big film person. I don't think I really realized it, or I don't think I ever thought it was something that I could actually pursue. All throughout my life and through high school, it was something that I was always kind of gravitating towards, more than other people. Alongside that, I was always better in the humanities, like English. So, before I came to Penn, I knew that I wanted to do something in communications, marketing, writing, that kind of stuff.
In my second semester of freshman year, I took "World Film History 1945–Present" for a requirement. I was like, "Wow, this is the coolest thing ever." It really ignited something in me that I think had been kind of dormant for a while. I looked into it, and I was like, "I could totally double major in this if I wanted to." And I want to, so that's what I did.
That was right before COVID hit. So, right afterwards, I had so much time to start catching up on so many movies I hadn't seen before. Since then, I've been watching hundreds and hundreds of movies a year. That summer, obviously, I didn't really do much in terms of internships. But the summer before my junior year, I landed an internship at Viacom CBS, which is now Paramount, doing corporate communications. I've been in the entertainment and business world since then, staying on the communication side. I do international publicity now at A24, and I started doing more corporate stuff. But I really found out that working with the content directly is what I liked doing more. I sort of fell into it, but I'm pretty happy where I am now.
What are some key takeaways of being part of the film industry?
There are more opportunities than you think there would be. Especially at Penn, you feel like your options are very limited when you look around you and see what other people are doing. I just only see the business side of it [the film industry], but just that is so large. There's also a massive creative side of it, too. I think if that's something you're interested in, like, film at all, whatever your other interests are, I think there's something in there for you, if you know where to look. Places like UME or Kinoki are a really great community on campus for that if that's something you're interested in. They have a lot of resources that I think people don't know about. I guess it's not something that is really encouraged as much here to pursue—creative things like that [film]. But, I think it's the coolest thing in the world. My advice would definitely be tapping into those organizations on campus, like the ones that I mentioned. Just finding a community.
There are a lot of really talented alumni in the entertainment space that come to do speaker events all the time and are super open to speaking to students, which is really great. Takeaways? I don't know. Working in publicity is very segmented so I only see a very specific part of what goes into making a film. It's really got a whole lifespan that crosses so many years when you're working on a movie, and I've gotten to see that at a lot of different stages, which has been really interesting, especially at Warner Bros. It's a big studio, they have stuff lined up years and years in advance. Even now doing international publicity, things get released later in different places. You can literally still be working on a movie for years and years. Some of the people who are involved in the movie have definitely moved past it, but you still kind of have to promote it in other places. That's also one of the things I love about being in international publicity. I'm kind of interacting with so many different cultures, learning about people in different countries. What do they resonate with? What do they look for? Playing some small role.
I love being at A24, and one of the things that I love is that these are such unique projects. So many diverse perspectives, voices, and backgrounds. If you play a role in making sure that people know about these movies and see these movies, then more of those movies are going to get made. That just gives me a lot of hope for the future.
Can you tell me about the pre–entertainment scene on campus?
The first thing I think of is UME. I was on the board of that club for a couple of years. I think that is the best, kind of, landing spot. They collaborate with a lot of other organizations too. They bring a lot of both alumni speakers and other entertainment professionals for speaker events that are super helpful from all different sides of the business. So, it really helps you get a good sense of things that you might be interested in, and you can get a chance to ask some questions. It's a really unique opportunity that you definitely can't take for granted. Start there.
Obviously, there's Kinoki for juniors and seniors, which being the president of has been really cool. There are so many people interested in so many different parts of the entertainment business. It's just good to be friends with and be in the same circle of people who are pursuing this more 'unconventional' path and being able to give each other advice and support. Connecting people with different people that they want to talk to. It's kind of tough [to be in entertainment], but I think if you know where to look, there's a really great community, and people from Penn have done such incredible things in entertainment.
What were some of your favorite events that you were able to attend in Philly?
The Philadelphia Film Festival is super cool. I got to see White Noise by Noah Baumbach premiere there, and there were such cool events. There was the Glass Onion premiere that director Rian Johnson attended. There's another kind of mini–festival that the Philadelphia Film Society is putting on this weekend. I think I'm going to see something there too. I'm just a huge fan of that organization in general. They always play just really cool old movies—movies that you kind of can't find anywhere else in Philly. I’m a big supporter, so I'm there all the time.
Music–wise, I have been to a good few concerts. I remember I went to Vampire Weekend during one of the first weeks of my freshman year. I snuck into the front part of the stage to get a setlist when I wasn't supposed to. Security was yelling at me and I was like, "My mom is up here. Definitely." Then I lost it during the COVID move, which was so sad. I saw The 1975 up close my freshman year too. I got one of Matty Healy's cigarettes from the stage and then accidentally broke it. There are so many more and I feel like I can't remember all of them now. I've seen Clairo, Electric Guest, I just saw Tennis, which was incredible. I'm going to see Alice Phoebe Lou who is one of my favorite artists at World Cafe and Yves Tumor soon, which I'm really excited about too. I think that's been one of my favorite parts about Philly. In Miami, you'd be surprised, but there are really not a lot of cool concerts down there, just because it's so out of the way and it's not really the target audience. My freshman year, I would travel to New York or Baltimore on a Tuesday for any concert I wanted to go to. I got stranded in Baltimore at three in the morning on a Tuesday one time. That was pretty memorable.
What’s next for you after Penn?
I'm just kind of going to take some time over the summer. Go back home. Travel a little bit. Go to Europe—my family is in Spain. So take some time there and see places I haven't seen before. I’m going to take a little road trip through California with my little sister, and then just relax at home. I want to learn more things before I go off into the real world and have my mom teach me all the things she knows how to do, because she is the coolest person ever, and she knows how to do everything. The plan hopefully during the fall is to move to New York and keep working in something similar.
I'm not going to have a job lined up. That's just the nature of the profession. So I’m working the network, seeing what's out there, keeping an open mind, and keeping my options open. I'm trying to keep things in perspective and remember that I’m still so young. There are so many years, there are so many different places you could go, and it's not the end of the world right now. I'd love to be in New York and just stay in the film entertainment and publicity world.
Favorite movie? Ladybird.
Who would play you in the movie about your life? I think Maude Apatow or, when I'm older, Rachel Weisz, because she looks like my mom.
Favorite food spot near campus? HipCityVeg.
No-skip album? Is This It by The Strokes.
Your favorite OTP? Gerri and Roman from Succession.
Which building on campus are you and why? Williams. Because it's kind of an eclectic, esoteric kind of vibe.
There are two types of people at Penn … I know this is what everyone says, but the types who go into consulting and banking and the ones who don't.
And you are? The one who does not.
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.