Ask Al: Adventures of a Projectionist

Al Reid
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

Past Posts

Date Title Author
2024-Jun Experience Cinelab 2024! Learning & Outreach
2024-Jun West Coast Film Archive Presentation Liam Schell
2024-Jun Michèle Smith The Cinematheque
2024-Apr Intermissions The Cinematheque
2024-Apr Tales from the Silo: National Film Week ​’86 Gerilee McBride
2024-Mar Ongoing Series at The Cinematheque The Cinematheque
2024-Mar Presenting: Godzilla Stop-Motion Contest Films Learning & Outreach
2024-Feb Volunteer Spotlight: Marlon Wiebe The Cinematheque
2024-Feb AGM Notice: February 13 (Tuesday) 5:00 pm The Cinematheque
2023-Dec Merry Movies! The Cinematheque
2023-Dec Film Career Event: Watch Online! Learning & Outreach
2023-Nov Cinema Thinks the World Presents Learning & Outreach
2023-Nov The All Staff Listicle: Fall Film Festival Edition The Cinematheque
2023-Oct Ask Al: Digital Films and DCPs Al Reid
2023-Sep Volunteer Spotlight: Chris Ayers The Cinematheque
2023-Aug Owen Kydd Interviews Bruno Dumont The Cinematheque
2023-Jul Presenting: Early Cinema Filmmaking Workshop Films Learning & Outreach
2023-Jul Tales from the Silo Gerilee McBride
2023-Jun Opening Night: Lee Changdong The Cinematheque
2023-Apr Volunteer Spotlight: Jonathan Wells The Cinematheque
2023-Apr The All Staff Listicle: If Spring Were a Movie The Cinematheque
2023-Mar Volunteer Spotlight: Fiona Hu The Cinematheque
2023-Mar Ask Al: Adventures of a Projectionist Al Reid
2023-Mar Trailers, Tips & Tools: Editing with Music Emma Pollard
2023-Mar What is Learning & Outreach? Learning & Outreach
2023-Mar News from the Executive Director Kate Ladyshewsky
2023-Mar Welcome to Intertitles The Cinematheque