Shooting at the Drexel Theatre recently, cinematographer Andrew Ina remarked how mysterious the projection booth always seemed when he was a kid going to the movies.
“I always looked back when the movie started to see if I could get a look at whoever was up there, making the magic happen. And if you actually got glance of the projectionist – that was really cool.”
We were in the Drexel’s projection booth with manager Kevin Rouch to get some shoots for Columbus Neighborhoods: Bexley.
Built in the 1930s, the Drexel survives, operated today by a non-profit organization. It specializes in showing high-quality films for eclectic and sophisticated movie goers.
It’s just about all digital now, and films arrive on a hard drive. Still, the huge platters that used to hold spools of film take up a lot of real estate in the booth.
We were interested to learn what the Drexel has discovered about its audience. At any given showing, about 20 percent of the people are from Bexley, 60 percent is from inside 270, and 20 percent is from outside of 270. The Drexel is a longstanding institution that brings people from all over to Bexley.
And why do people drive across town to see a movie at the Drexel? It might be a foreign film or an art film that’s not showing elsewhere. It’s more likely, though, that in an era of uninspiring multiplexes, people love being in a historic, Art Deco theatre that recalls a time when going out to the movies had a touch of glamor to it.