GEP stalwart Jesse Locascio (Camera AC on LATE PHASES, PRANKS, STRAY BULLETS, THE RANGER, LIKE ME, DEPRAVED) featured in New York Times article celebrating the art of the film projectionist:

For the 9:20 p.m. movie, Jesse Locascio threaded film through the projector. This was after he had sprayed compressed air on the sprockets and rollers, blowing out dust that could show up as black dots on the screen.

“This is not how they do it at the multiplex,” he said. “Not even close.”

Not in the digital age.

Mr. Locascio, 28, is a movie projectionist who can do things the old-fashioned way, operating projectors with big reels of celluloid. Projectionists, he says, are a dying breed and he learned much of what he knows in a long, narrow room of clattering machinery: a projectionist’s booth at the Jacob Burns Film Center in Pleasantville, N.Y.

The Jacob Burns, as it is known, operates a media arts lab that teaches digital literacy as well as a nonprofit art house that was screening “Where’s Poppa?” — a 1970 comedy directed by Carl Reiner — at 9:20 in theater two. But it also trains projectionists, and in an art house, that means learning to handle more than digital files.

It means learning to handle celluloid.

“It was a whole new education,” said Jesse Modica, who as the center’s technical director is Mr. Locascio’s boss. Mr. Modica had worked in commercial theaters before he arrived at the Jacob Burns in 2007.

“My previous training didn’t include any of the nuances,” he said, but he learned from the projectionists at the Jacob Burns. And now Mr. Modica trains newcomers like Mr. Locascio in the mechanics of showing film.

Training a projectionist is “like giving somebody private lessons,” Mr. Modica said. “A lot of this is muscle memory. Once I teach someone, ‘O.K., this is how you inspect the film, this is how you get the sound to work, this is how you make sure you’ve got the right aspect ratio,’ they’ve got to remember come showtime. It’s like someone taking karate. You can learn all the karate you want in the dojo, but are you going to remember when you’re being attacked in an alley?”

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