Two of my favourite colleagues retired recently. Please join me in taking a moment to remember their outstanding service.
In 2012, after more than 100 years of 35mm film, the movie industry converted to digital. BC theatres quickly installed digital projectors, and distributors stopped submitting 35mm films to us for classification. This meant the end of the road for our two 35mm projectors.
The projectors started their careers around 1970 when the government’s Film Classification Office purchased them. Constructed in Milano, Italy by Cinemeccanica, they were “top-of-the-line” and the envy of every projectionist.
Why two machines? Reels contained a maximum 2,000 feet of film which ran for 20 minutes. The projectionist could alternate between machines without interrupting the screening. To help projectionists time everything perfectly, processing labs inserted “change-over cues” near the end of each reel—little white circles visible in the top-right corner of the picture.
Our two dependable workhorses projected over 25,000 films in their illustrious career. Now-famous titles such as Apocalypse Now, The Godfather and Jaws were first projected in British Columbia by these machines. Their lenses have truly been witness to cinematic history. They have projected over 275 million feet of film. That’s enough film to wrap around the globe…twice!
It was my good fortune to start working with these loyal machines on December 9, 1992, and I quickly became grateful for their reliable and tireless service… even when their workload was pushed to the limit.
My job is quite different now. We have a digital projector, and incoming films arrive via hard-drive which I ingest into our server. Though it may sound simpler, complications with files are common which can make things more challenging.
I kept the old machines around just in case someone submitted a 35mm film. But nobody did. Every morning they looked at me hoping they might get to run another film. Just one more maybe, for old time’s sake. But there were none. I called around to see if a collector or museum might like them. But nobody did.
They worked tirelessly without fanfare or reward for nearly half a century, but there was no retirement ceremony, gold watch or severance package for my old friends. Last month, I quietly dismantled them and sent the parts to be recycled. The familiar whir of the old projectors no longer fills the booth. A silent end to a great career.
I thank you, projector 1 and projector 2, for your devoted cooperation and camaraderie.
You will not be forgotten,
Classifier and projectionist
Motion picture classification department with Consumer Protection BC
Motion picture classification in BC
If you’ve ever gone to the movies in British Columbia and wondered where the G, PG, 14A or 18A came from, that’s us! Our classification work is mandated by the Motion Picture Act. Our team of trained classifiers review all motion pictures publicly exhibited in BC theatres. The classifying process helps consumers, and particularly parents, make informed decisions when choosing a movie.
If you want to get in touch about a movie classification, please do. We can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org. To check the classification of a specific movie, visit the motion picture ratings page on our website.