Mats Kullander Is Gone

Some dreadful news if you are at all familiar with the ever-diminishing group of film projectionists and techs in Sweden: Mats Kullander passed away today.

I’ve known Mats since the 80s when I was a humble projectionist working at SF Bio, the premier Swedish cinema chain, and he headed the chain’s technical department. He had the unfortunate task of having to close down a number of much loved single-screen theatres in Gothenburg, a task that did not at all endear him to us projectionists. We had many a battle but also an increasing number of fruitful and respectful exchanges, and by the time I left in the 90s, Mats had become a much-respected source of information and stories about our shared interests, including a love of 70mm projection and cinema technology.

I lost touch with Mats for a few years until Facebook came along and many old-timers started gathering there; it’s where many, most even, chat these days. Well, unless you still work in the industry, which I don’t. There are groups of like-minded individuals on Facebook discussing film projection, projectors, 70mm, large-screen formats, and classic theatre design, and there was Mats also, always ready for an anecdote or useful information.

Mats retired some years ago, but they would call him whenever there was a 70mm print to be screened. 70mm projectionists are rare these days so he would run shows at the Rigoletto in Stockholm. He’d introduce new projectionists to the craft, of course, but mostly, I’m sure, he’d be there simply because of he truly loved the work. I believe his last film may have been Oppenheimer, just a few months ago. He’d post pictures, and I’d miss the work terribly.

Today, we mourn.

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