AMIA and Boston Light & Sound to host 35mm projection workshop

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The Association of Moving Image Archivists (AMIA) and Boston Light & Sound, in partnership with Martin Scorsese’s nonprofit organization The Film Foundation, will host a three-day, intermediate-level film projection workshop offering expert-led training in the proper handling and presentation of 35mm film in theatres. The hands-on educational event will take place Oct. 30 to Nov. 1 at Boston Light & Sound in Boston.

Areas of instruction, intended for professional projectionists and other specialists responsible for film prints, include the handling of 35mm reels, working with lending institutions, and the technical skills needed for projection and maintenance. Instructors will  include experts in archival projection, as well as specialists from Boston Light & Sound and AMIA. Also contributing to the program are WB Distribution, the Coolidge Corner Foundation and filmmaker Peter Flynn.

Over the past decade, more than 90% of cinemas have migrated exhibition to solely digital projection, raising concerns that professional expertise in projecting 35mm is rapidly declining. Prints are difficult to obtain and expensive to replace, and require special knowledge and skills to project. Keeping movie projection at a high level of exhibition is important for preserving both access to, and the physical safety of, archival and rare films, which ultimately benefits audiences. AMIA’s projection workshops are designed to address these challenges, and encourage best practices for film projection through instruction, education and support, as well as building a collaborative community of film handlers.

“The need for projectionists with the knowledge and experience to appropriately project 35mm prints has only deepened as the commercial market has moved toward digital,” said AMIA president Andrea Kalas. “The education we provide with our outstanding partners will ensure that audiences can continue to enjoy films, whether blockbusters or rarities, in their original format and that film prints will be returned to their archives undamaged.”

Margaret Bodde, executive director of The Film Foundation, added, “There is nothing quite like seeing a film projected on the big screen in its original format. The Film Foundation is committed to ensuring the continued availability of film prints, so it is extremely important that individuals are trained in the proper handling of 35mm archival and restored prints so that film projection does not become a dying art. In the past, projectionists learned from experienced mentors. This workshop provides training and support for this vital community.”

Participants in the Projection Workshop will receive certificates of completion from AMIA. Last year’s event sold out. In the coming year, AMIA plans to offer additional workshops with related content for both beginner and expert audiences.

“As time goes by, our precious film heritage is becoming more and more fragile, and new prints of older features are becoming more expensive and less available,” said Chapin Cutler, co-founder of Boston Light & Sound. “But archival prints that date back to original release dates continue to be viable and shown to audiences around the world. Proper film projector maintenance, alignment and hygiene is important to protect these precious materials. So, too, is presentation quality. Both go hand-in-hand. Passing on our understanding of how to maintain the best practices in film projection in is an important mission for Boston Light & Sound. We are proud to support AMIA along with our partners at Alamo Drafthouse by helping to develop and provide these workshops.”

The fee for workshop participants is $350, and attendance is limited to 12 participants. For more information, and to register, visit www.projectionworkshop.com.