Alamo Drafthouse Announces the Newest Members of the Programming Team
R.J. LaForce, Tommy Swenson, Kayla Williams and Laird Jimenez
September 17, 2013 // Franchising.com // Austin, TX - Alamo Drafthouse is pleased to announce the newest members of the programming team: R.J. LaForce, Tommy Swenson, Kayla Williams and Laird Jimenez.
"When we opened the Alamo, our only real qualification was that Karrie and I were movie lovers. As we grow, it is important that we continue to hire obsessive movie fans. Tommy, R.J., Kayla and Laird put my own movie knowledge to shame, and that makes me happy," says Alamo Drafthouse founder and CEO Tim League.
After attending film school at the University of Texas, R.J. wrote and directed several short films and worked on Hollywood productions and TV shows. From 2006-2012, he worked various service jobs at the Alamo before moving to programming. During this time he also got a BA and MA from the UT and worked on multiple productions, interned and apprenticed at AFS and volunteered for SXSW.
"I don't want to sound cliché about it, but joining the programming team is, more or less, a dream come true," said R.J. "I get to expose people to movies I love and be part of the Austin film community in a way I haven't before. It's always been amazing to be a frequent moviegoer in this town, but now I get to have a much more active experience not only because I'm choosing films we play based on my likes, but I'm also more active in what this film-going community wants."
R.J. serves as film programmer and Austin Creative Manager. His favorite films include MODERN TIMES, THE EVIL DEAD, CASABLANCA, and BOTTLE ROCKET amongst many others.
Before moving from Seattle to Austin, Tommy was a projectionist at the Grand Illusion Cinema, the longest running independent cinema in Seattle, and is a video veteran, having worked at Scarecrow Video in Seattle and Austin's Vulcan Video. Before becoming a programmer, Swenson was responsible for creating the Alamo Drafthouse's preshow entertainment.
"My main ambition as a film programmer is to try to help break down any walls that people may have built that maybe are keeping them from giving a certain genre or era or style of filmmaking a chance," said Tommy. "It's easy to stay with what's familiar for you, but I want to help people feel empowered and excited to branch out, explore and discover. There's so much out there worth watching and celebrating, and I want to help make that feel accessible to everyone."
Tommy is a full time programmer for the Alamo Drafthouse and is also responsible for all repertory programming at the Ritz location. He has an extensive list of favorite movies, including films such as NINOTCHKA, LES VAMPIRES, VIVA MARIA!, and Abel Gance's NAPOLEON.
After college, Kayla moved to Austin and started as a food runner at the Alamo Drafthouse South Lamar with the sole aspiration of working her way into the programming world. Kayla began working on the "Hey Homo" series at the Ritz and then later got the offer to join the team full-time.
"What I love about working on the first run programming at Alamo Drafthouse is our integrity of cinematic presentation. There is an etiquette for presenting movies and an etiquette for watching movies," said Kayla. "The Alamo's commitment to those principles drives my commitment to the company and our guests."
Kayla is the Director of National First Run Promotions at Alamo Drafthouse. Her lists of favorite films includes LIVE FLESH, AUNTIE MAME, BOOM!, and GREY GARDENS.
After receiving a degree in digital video production from the University of Georgia and managing Vision Video in Athens, Georgia, Laird moved to Seattle, Washington to work at the world's largest video store, Scarecrow Video. After absorbing as many VHS, Laserdiscs, and DVDs as possible, he went back to school for Library & Information Sciences and worked for a film archive before being recommended for a position at Alamo Drafthouse.
"In my short time with the Alamo I've already been involved in so many fruitful collaborations and discussions. This is a real team," said Laird. "The Alamo Drafthouse is playing an important role in preserving some respect and excitement for the act of watching movies in a theatre."
As a Video Editor, Laird is responsible for creating Alamo Drafthouse's preshow entertainment. His favorite films include RAISING ARIZONA, DUCK SOUP, UN CHIEN ANDALOU, and ROAD WARRIOR.
About Alamo Drafthouse
Alamo Drafthouse is an entertainment brand comprised of the acclaimed cinema-eatery chain, the largest genre film festival in the United States and a collectible art gallery. Named "the best theater ever" by Time Magazine, the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema has built a reputation as a movie lover's oasis not only by combining food and drink service with the movie-going experience, but also introducing unique programming and high-profile, star studded special events. Alamo Drafthouse Founder & CEO, Tim League, created Fantastic Fest, a world renowned film festival dubbed "The Geek Telluride" by Variety. Fantastic Fest showcases eight days of offbeat cinema from independents, international filmmakers and major Hollywood studios. The Alamo Drafthouse's collectible art gallery, Mondo, offers breathtaking, original products featuring designs from world-famous artists based on licenses for popular TV and Movie properties including Star Wars, Star Trek & Universal Monsters. The Alamo Drafthouse Cinema is expanding its brand in new and exciting ways, including the launch of Drafthouse Films, a new film distribution label and plans to extend its theaters and unique programming philosophy to additional markets across the United States. More information about Alamo Drafthouse franchise opportunities are available on the official website
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