Ingrid Lae, Science World’s Manager, Theatre Operations and Programming, was supposed to be at the Grauman Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood, California this weekend, at a classic film festival she attends every year.
This historic theatre is one the few that can screen 35mm nitrate film, a highly flammable material notorious for causing disastrous theatre fires in the early days of cinema.
“There’s something very special about this archival stock that makes it look more vibrant,” Ingrid says.
Her passion for the history of film technology and rare formats began 40 years ago as a barista at the Ridge Theatre.
At 20, she delivered cappuccinos to the projectionist at The Ridge during intermission. She doesn’t remember what film was playing the first time she stepped into the booth. It could have been Curtiz’s Casablanca, Truffaut’s Small Change, or Lynch’s Eraserhead. What struck her instead was the fascinating equipment.
“I wanted to know how everything worked. I liked learning how to take care of all the different components and the film, of course.”
She started training to become a projectionist right away, a 1,000 hour apprenticeship that inspired her to make weekend trips to Seattle to catch films from across the border.