In a Digital Movie World, Projectionists Still Matter

Posted on April 2, 2018 at 10:31 am

One of the great pleasures of seeing movies at the magnificent Virginia Theater each year for Ebertfest is the superb work of projectionist James Bond (yes, that is his name).  These days, most movies are digitally projected and remote controlled.  But for some films, projectionists still make all the difference.  It was great to see Vanity Fair profile Mike Katz, one of the best, sought after by perfectionist filmmakers like P.T.  Anderson and Martin Scorsese.  My favorite professor in film school started as a teenage projectionist, and that led him to go back to school to study film.

For the first time in years, specialists like him have once again become a hot commodity, thanks to fussy filmmakers like Phantom Threads Paul Thomas Anderson and others—“Batman guy, Scorsese guy, Tarantino guy”—who want to present their new films the way they believe they deserve to be seen, on 35mm or 70mm, in a handful of big-city markets. They’re frantically seeking projectionists like Katz to get the job done, even turning to those who have retired or moved on from the profession…Katz—like those film-nerds-turned-directors who are breathing new life into his industry—is hyper-aware of the differences between a D.C.P., or digital cinema package, and a film print. (He actually installed BAM’s first two digital projectors about 12 and 8 years ago.) He credits his father and uncle Louie, both of whom worked as projectionists and were proud members of New York’s still-thriving projectionists union, with giving him vital on-the-job training; he started working for them as a “reelboy,” rethreading just-screened film prints, and handing them back to the projectionist.


Related Tags:


Behind the Scenes
THE MOVIE MOM® is a registered trademark of Nell Minow. Use of the mark without express consent from Nell Minow constitutes trademark infringement and unfair competition in violation of federal and state laws. All material © Nell Minow 1995-2024, all rights reserved, and no use or republication is permitted without explicit permission. This site hosts Nell Minow’s Movie Mom® archive, with material that originally appeared on Yahoo! Movies, Beliefnet, and other sources. Much of her new material can be found at, Huffington Post, and WheretoWatch. Her books include The Movie Mom’s Guide to Family Movies and 101 Must-See Movie Moments, and she can be heard each week on radio stations across the country.

Website Designed by Max LaZebnik