AMIA, Alamo Drafthouse to offer 35mm Projection Workshop

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Fri, 07/08/2016 - 10:06 -- Nick Dager

The Association of Moving Image Archivists and Alamo Drafthouse, in partnership with The Film Foundation, will host a three-day film projection workshop offering expert-led training for managers, curators and projectionists in the proper presenting of 35mm film in theaters. The hands-on, educational event will be held August 22-24 in Austin, Texas, at the Alamo South Lamar location. Additional partners supporting the symposium include Kodak and Boston Light & Sound.

As digital technology has presented new opportunities to filmmakers and exhibitors, it has also negatively impacted the availability of prints for theaters showing 35mm film. Many of those prints come from archives and similar institutions that cannot replace these valuable assets should they become damaged. At the same time, this lack of access to 35mm film prints and the predominance of digital projection has reduced the number of projectionists who have experience in handling film. This makes training in the proper handling and projection of film prints critical, and the need for this workshop essential.

“While digital has become the primary exhibition format, many theaters continue to show 35mm film prints,” said AMIA president Andrea Kalas. “We want to provide working professionals and projectionists who want to continue their education with the special skills to work with rare and archival prints to ensure that audiences will continue to enjoy many films in their original 35mm format. Bringing AMIA together with the Alamo Drafthouse and The Film Foundation, as well as Kodak and Boston Light & Sound, helps to foster an appreciation for this revered cinema experience.”

The workshop will offer a hands-on tutorial for projectionists and theater staff working with 35mm film prints and will focus on film preparation and projection as well as special stipulations for archival projection, coordinating with lending institutions, and paperwork. Instructors will include specialists in archival projection, as well as training from Boston Light & Sound and Kodak. 

“I love digital projection for new release films, but only a tiny sliver of our vast film history will ever make it to the DCP format,” said Alamo Drafthouse CEO Tim League. “As an industry, we must continue to preserve, protect and carefully screen 35mm films and maintain our 35mm projection equipment.  The day we stop is the day cinema as we know it is dead.”

Participants will receive industry-wide recognition for completion of the workshop, indicated by a certificate from AMIA. Last year’s one-day event was sold out and met with positive reviews. This year, AMIA has expanded the program to include additional courses and hands-on training.

“Preservation and restoration is vital; equally important is sharing these films with an audience,” said Margaret Bodde, The Film Foundation’s executive director. “With this workshop, AMIA and Alamo Drafthouse are helping to ensure that archival and studio prints are properly handled and projected, allowing new generations the unique experience of seeing 35mm film projected onto the big screen.”

“AMIA and Alamo are great stewards of film,” said Steve Bellamy, president of Kodak’s Motion Picture Film division. “Kodak is all in on film and it is critical to support the projectionist and theater community in every way we can. Workshops and events are a fantastic way to ensure that we are developing these skills in communities across the world.”   

The fee for workshop participants is $250, and attendance is limited. For more information, and to register, visit