Ask Al: Adventures of a Projectionist
March 23, 2023
Welcome to our monthly “Ask Al” column where we ask projectionist Al Reid to answer your burning questions about life in the projection booth.
Who did you learn how to project from?
Many fine folks at the UBC Film Society, but the one I spent the most shifts with was Peter Braeuer, who I still connect regularly with as he runs the depot that DCP drives are sent to here in Vancouver. Many of the people I mentored at the Film Society have gone on to work in the Cinematheque booth, and we have two FilmSoc alumni from beyond my time there working here now.
What is your projectionist recurring nightmare?
I’m in a booth that is completely unknown to me, there’s a huge audience, and I can’t get the film to work. I’ve lived through this nightmare twice working for special events or festivals outside of The Cinematheque and they are not fun moments. But confronting one’s nightmare and surviving does lend a fair bit of confidence when going through life.
What is the favourite print you’ve projected?
The Fight Club print where I spliced frames from family film trailers into scenes of violence.
What was the first film you saw in a theatre?
Star Wars: A New Hope at a drive-in way back in 1977. I was either not quite or barely four years old, and I remember being clad in fuzzy red onesie pyjamas so we could be put straight to bed after. From the opening title crawl it left an indelible mark on me.
Have a question for Al?
Send it to: askAl@thecinematheque.ca