Projectionists draw projectors: an ongoing series.
What is a projectionist? A projectionist, for the purposes of this project, is anyone who knows how to operate any sort of film projector. Some projectionists are professionals. These days, they mostly work at movie theaters, but sometimes they work at more specialized screening rooms like those used for private press screenings or for university film studies classes. Sometimes professional film projectionists are union members – this isn’t the case in Chicago these days ( for the most part) but it is in other cities. There are also many amateur projectionists – people who project film as volunteers or as hobbyists. They project film in diverse places: student film societies, their own living rooms and basements, and (once upon a time) classrooms, churches, dentist’s office waiting rooms, and endless other spaces. Traditionally, 16mm and 8mm were the main formats projected by non-professional and amateur projectionists.
What is a projector? A projector, obviously, is a machine that projects film. This includes everything from hulking theatrical 35mm (or 70mm!) projectors to the dinky little Super 8 projector your dad used to show home movies on.
Why this project? Partly because we know a lot of projectionists and it’s fun to have them draw things when you’re all waiting for food at the diner after the show. More seriously – because we want to record some sense of how projectionists relate to the machines that they’ve operated. And because the future of the medium is particularly uncertain these days, we’d also like to record a sense of the skill and affection involved in every level of the trade, and a sense of the extent to which film projection – of all types – permeated cultural life during the 20th and early 21st centuries.
If you have projected film at any time during your life and would like to contribute a drawing to the project, please mail it to the Chicago Film Society, 1635 E 55th St, Chicago, IL 60615 or just bring it to us at one of our screenings. Click thumbnails to enlarge! – Or view on . Tumblr
MATTHEW SCOTT Has projected at: Doc Films
MEREDITH KRESGE Title: “Anxiety” Has projected at: the Grand Theatre 18, Hattiesburg, MS Other activities: cargocollective.com/meredithk
DAVE RODRIGUEZ Has projected at: the Dryden Theatre “There’s a lot of people here, so don’t fuck up.”
ANONYMOUS Q: How can you have a projector that does film and digital? A: That’s the Image Science. A trade secret!
ALLISON BERKE Has projected at: Pacific Film Archive Library and Film Study Center
CHARLIE RANCE Title: “Film Becomes Me” Has projected at: the Smith Opera House, Geneva, NY and the Dryden Theatre
LORI FELKER Has projected at: The Gene Siskel Film Center The Chicago Underground Film Festival and The School of the Art Institute of Chicago
TIM WEIDELMAN Has projected at: The Gene Siskel Film Center
NEIL COOPER Title: “Abstract Projector” Has projected at: A/V rooms at Wisconsin high schools, including: New London High School (1964-1969) and Mercer High School (1969-1973)
EMILY ROSSI-SNOOK Has projected at: Strand Theater, Schroon Lake, NY Paramount Theater, Schroon Lake, NY Skyline Drive-In, Crown Point, NY Other activities: The Chatham Film Club
CHRIS HOGAN-ROY Has projected at: the Little Theatre
GENEVIEVE HAVEMEYER Has projected at: San Francisco Media Archive/ Oddball Film+Video Anthology Film Archives, Manhattan Cinema Village, Manhattan and the streets
MATTHEW REICHARD Has projected at: Flagship Cinemas, Derry, NH Two Boots Pioneer Cinema, Manhattan Cinema Village, Manhattan and the NYU Cinema Studies Department
JAMES BOND Has projected at: Cinema Borealis and Cinema Borealis, etc. Other activities: Full Aperture Systems
RICK BAHTO Has projected at: Echo Park Film Center in Los Angeles, CA Artist’s Television Access in San Francisco, CA and galleries, performance spaces, microcinemas, and living rooms.
COMPOSITE THREAD PATH from, Member, ADRIANNE JORGE IATSE Local 306 Has projected at: The Coolidge Corner Theatre in Brookline, MA The Brattle Theatre in Cambridge, MA The Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, MA Anthology Film Archives in New York City The Paramount Center in Boston, MA …and at Sundance, Tribeca, Doha, Dubai, Traverse City, and many other film festivals.
She writes, “I would like to contribute a couple of technical drawings that I made for my old booth at the Manhattan Film Center in NY, where I worked as Woody Allen’s personal projectionist for six years.
PICTURE-ONLY THREAD PATH from, Member, ADRIANNE JORGE IATSE Local 306
“I was asked by Mr. Allen’s editors to compile and write a manual for the projection booth, in the event that myself or any of my regular substitutes were not available for a screening. These two drawings were meant to illustrate the different threading paths that we were regularly using in the booth at the time. We were running everything changeover on Simplex heads with Atlas bases. The Atlas is very rare these days, as it was originally meant for double system post production projection, where a magnetic reel of dialog track could run simultaneous with the picture reel on the projector. Magnetic sound was abandoned several years ago, for simpler and cheaper digital audio Fostex decks. And now with Mr. Allen’s last two films, 35mm film has been almost completely eliminated from the post production process. So I have these drawings of an extinct and historical system, one that I loved for half a dozen years. I hope they can at least serve an artistic purpose in your collection.”
KENT Kent has submitted a drawing to the project before. This is a more functional drawing, originally intended to show projectionists how to turn on the variable speed motor for projecting silent films at 18fps.
NIS GRØN Has projected at: Gloria Biograf, Copenhagen, Denmark
TIM WAGNER Has projected at: the Dryden and Curtis Theatres AMC Como Mall 8, Cheektowaga, NY General Cinema, Amherst, NY Eastern Hills Cinema, Williamsville, NY Seneca Twin, Lackawanna, NY and the General Cinema Twin, Lake Mary, FL Thoughts: “Any good projector would be at that pitch, tucked away high up in the booth of a movie palace.”
RYAN LALIBERTY Has projected at: Keene State College Film Society
JUSTIN LALIBERTY Has projected at: Keene State College Film Society Flagship Cinemas, Derry, NH and the Little Theatre
SARA MEYERS Has projected at: the Brattle Theatre, Cambridge, MA the Coolidge Corner Theatre, Brookline, MA and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
LIZ COFFEY Has projected at: the Coolidge Corner Theatre, Brookline, MA the Brattle Theatre, Cambridge, MA the Provincetown International Film Festival, and the Harvard Film Archive, Cambridge, MA as well as at various small-gauge venues
TOMMY JOSE STATHES Title:“Kodascope (Model C)” Has projected at: Cinebeasts and the Tom Stathes Cartoon Carnival Other activities: cartoonsonfilm.com
STEVE KRAUS Title: “Norelco DP-70” Other activities: the Lake Street Screening Room
REBECCA LYON Has projected at: Doc Films the Music Box Theatre Gene Siskel Film Center and Block Cinema Other activities: rrlyon.tumblr.com
OLIVER GAYCKEN Has projected at: Doc Films Thoughts: “Quoting Eric Riggers, ‘The Eastman 16B is the sweetest smelling projector in the world.'”
KATHERINE GREENLEAF Has projected at: Doc Films Other activities: Active in Chicago theater, currently working with About Face and Lifeline Thoughts: “The projectionist’s view of the projector never changes. No matter what you’re projecting. Also, it’s amazing what absorbing stories in ten-minute increments with ten-minute gaps will do to your brain. And lastly, once you’ve learned to see dots, you can ever unsee them for the rest of your life, and your foot always twitches at the second set.”
EMERALD Title: “This Old Machine” Has projected at: Doc Films and Facets Cinematheque
EDO CHOI Has projected at: Doc Films
PETER DOBKIN HALL Title: “The Gate” Has projected: as part of the A/V Squad at Wilton High School and at the Reed College Movie Board, 1964-8 Other activities: Harvard Squirrel Archive
CHARLES EDWARD ROGERS Has projected at: the Music Box Theatre Facets Cinematheque Bank of America Cinema Laemmle’s Music Hall 3 Laemmle’s Monica 4-plex Laemmle’s Royal Theatre Thoughts: “I often think it is like deejaying, in that it actually isn’t that hard most of the time, but one has to constantly fiddle and pretend to do stuff to justify it to yourself or the audience. Also, when I used to work at changeover places, it was hard for me to relax while the film was running. Now that I work at platter houses, it is totally easy to relax. I had to run changeovers the other night, though, and I was really nervous and ill-at-ease for the first few reels. By the third or fourth, though, it was fine and I had a good rhythm. (It being a fun movie didn’t hurt, either.) I still didn’t sit down the whole time, though.”
ANH-THU Has projected at: Doc Films Other activities: anht.hu
ANDY UHRICH Has projected at: the Music Box Theatre Gene Siskel Film Center and the University of Chicago Film Studies Center
ALEX RAY Title: “Upstairs” Has projected at: [coming soon]
KENT Has projected at: Gene Siskel Film Center
STEVEN LUCY Has projected at: Doc Films Bank of America Cinema Other activities: Open Produce.
KYLE WESTPHAL Has projected at: Doc Films the University of Chicago Film Studies Center Bank of America Cinema the Little Theatre the Dryden Theatre and the Northwest Chicago Film Society.
JULIAN ANTOS Has projected at: Doc Films Bank of America Cinema the Genesee Theatre the Patio Theater Cinema Borealis the Music Box Theatre and the Northwest Chicago Film Society
BECCA HALL Title: “Projector at Doc Films” Has projected at: Doc Films the University of Chicago Film Studies Center the Gene Siskel Film Center the Patio Theater Bank of America Cinema and the Northwest Chicago Film Society.