Mark Louis is Alamo Drafthouse Cinemas director of presentation. In that role, he is responsible for maintaining the level of technology that has become central to the exhibitor’s brand and identity. Louis is currently overseeing the opening of seven new Alamo theatres across the United States, while simultaneously maintaining the quality control of the established sites. When I contacted him to talk about how he approaches new builds he described himself as “busier that a one-armed reel-to-reel projectionist,” but he agreed to talk via email. Here’s an excerpted version of our conversation.
Alamo Drafthouse Cinemas
With a passion for movies that he’s had for as long as he can remember Mark Louis, director of presentation for Alamo Drafthouse Cinemas, started working in the theatre industry almost 40 years ago. When watching movies, he realized early on that the slightest imperfection in the presentation was a distraction. Even unavoidable distractions like on-screen cue marks on 35mm film prints would grab his attention. He says he found himself wondering why imperfections like those marks were present and could they be avoided. That frustration with a less than perfect presentation and a fascination with how movie magic actually worked is what lured him to the technical side of the business where he remains to this day. I recently spoke with Louis about his career in exhibition and his role at Alamo Drafthouse Cinemas.
Alamo Drafthouse, the Austin-based cinema chain known for its strict “no talking, no texting” policy will open a much-anticipated theater in downtown Brooklyn this summer. Currently in its final phase of construction, the flagship theater will feature seven screens celebrating all forms of cinema.