'The New York Times' on Old-School Projectionist and SVA Alumnus Jesse LoCascio
April 23, 2019
by Danielle Peters
With the digital age still advancing and disrupting cinema, old-school film prints are a dying breed as most theaters have moved to DCP (Digital Cinema Package, a.k.a, movies shown digitally). But projectionists like SVA alumnus Jesse LoCascio (BFA 2012 Film and Video) are keeping the art of celluloid alive. Working from a projectionist booth at the Jacob Burns Film Center in Pleasantville, New York, LoCascio runs what is now considered an old-school arrangement, using two projectors and switching between machines during a film.
It's an in-the-moment, sometimes stressful job for which one needs to be immediately present. "It's like someone taking karate," LoCascio said in a recent The New York Times article about his increasingly rare profession. "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?"
Starting off as a theater usher, LoCascio went on to study filmmaking at SVA, and was hired at Jacob Burns not long after graduating. In the Times article, LoCascio talked about the rarity of his job. "I do feel it's a dying field, the film end of things." But, he adds, "with digital, you still need someone there for quality control, making sure the volume is right, the brightness is right." When not at Jacob Burns, LoCascio can be found working for film productions as a focus puller—the person in charge of keeping the camera in focus. He has worked on the Netflix movie White Girl, as well as The Hunting Ground and The Ranger.
The Times goes further in depth with LoCascio about how he originally got started as a projectionist, and the people that taught him these specialized ropes. For the full story and more images, click here.