Tim League, Founder/Chief Executive Officer


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About Me: Tim League graduated from Rice University in 1992 with degrees in Mechanical Engineering and Art/Art History. After a two-year stint at Shell Oil in Bakersfield, California, Tim turned his back on the engineering profession and opened up his first movie theater. An unmitigated financial disaster, the Tejon theater closed in 1995, and he and his wife Karrie loaded a truck with 200 seats, a projector, screen and speakers and headed to Austin to Start the Alamo Drafthouse, where he remains as CEO today. League also co-founded Fantastic Fest, the largest genre film festival in the United States and has recently started a Drafthouse branded distribution label which released the critically acclaimed Jihadi-comedy FOUR LIONS in 2010. When asked about his early qualifications for opening a movie theater in the first place, "none, other than really liking movies, which I guess is the most important part."

Programming Genius: Difficult to say. Robosaurus in the parking lot of South Lamar, Camp Hack n' Slash, our horror summer camp, the Zaireeka screening with quadrophonic video and audio, the mandatory smoking show of BREATHLESS, the very first DELIVERANCE screening (also first Rolling Roadshow). These days, the event I anticipate the most is Fantastic Fest.

Favorite Movies: Old Guard Faves: THE GENERAL, CITY LIGHTS, ON THE WATERFRONT, THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY, THE GODFATHER PART 2, TOUCH OF EVIL; New Faves: ADAM’S APPLES, THERE WILL BE BLOOD, EX-DRUMMER, BLACK SWAN, THE HOST, SYMPATHY FOR MR. VENGEANCE, PAN’S LABYRINTH; Exploitation Films: ANGUISH, ABAR 1ST BLACK SUPERMAN, TOYS ARE NOT FOR CHILDREN, PENITENTIARY, VICE SQUAD

Favorite Beer: Just like movies, I can't really pick just one. Indulgent one-off: Sam Adam's Utopias, Favorite local 512 Barrel-aged Pecan Porter, Old reliables: Anchor Christmas, Arrogant Bastard. Favorite Breweries: Dogfish Head and Brewdog.

Badass Character: Can't just do one. In no particular order (and all dudes, sorry): Bama (Dean Martin) in SOME CAME RUNNING. Not sure if he was acting at all, but I sure wanted to hang out and play cards with him. Freebie in FREEBIE AND THE BEAN - I like James Caan in just about everything, but he's a particularly demented and charming badass in this one. Tiger (Rock Hudson) in PRETTY MAIDS ALL IN A ROW. He's got his sociopathic personality quirks, but he's a real smoothie with the ladies and kept a cool head under pressure. Snakey (Les Tremayne) in SNAKES. Nobody fucks with his Wednesday.

Line to Live By: "A repo man spends his life getting into tense situations." - Bud (Harry Dean Stanton). Even though I sometimes don't handle tension well, I can't deny that I like tense situations.

Mike Sherrill, Chief Creative Officer


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About Me: The restaurant business has been with me for some time, from my first restaurant job at a pizza place in high school, the numerous serving and bartending jobs that put me through two college degrees (Business and Philosophy, University of Texas) and before Alamo as President and partner in a local restaurant chain.  The different high volume restaurant responsibilities and multi-unit management experience prepared me about as well as anything can for this crazy thing called Alamo!

Starting as the opening GM of the Alamo Lake Creek location and later the COO, I’ve followed the mad genius energy of founder Tim League through the openings of multiple Alamo locations while also handling the operational side and start up of Fantastic Fest and the Highball.  The best (ongoing) challenge for me at the Alamo has been to look all those crazy programmers in the eye knowing whatever they might dream up, my team gets to figure out how to actually make it work!  From 24 hour marathons, film festivals, flame thrower food preparation or simply serving 800 people in an hour, there’s no idea too far out and nothing we’re afraid of.

Favorite Beer: Well, remembering of course that almost any beer is better than no beer, it’s a relative question based on what you have to choose from.  Generally speaking I like a beer that I have not tried before (there are SO many beers out there!).  I like something seasonal and local whenever possible, except around the holidays (the best time for seasonal beer!), when I tend to go back to two of my favorites – Anchor Christmas and Real Ale Coffee Porter!

Favorite Movies: Like beer, there are too many to choose from and I tend to want to say something I’ve not yet seen.  But man, oh man, I will watch JAWS every time it comes on!  I also distinctly remember seeing three movies all within a few weeks of each other – BEING JOHN MALKOVICH, AMERICAN BEAUTY and FIGHT CLUB.  I recall thinking what a powerhouse trio that was and feeling a little sad that the next movie I would watch might not hold to up to the one, two, three punch I’d just experienced.

Badass Character: hmmm….as a kid I thought Bart, the sheriff from BLAZING SADDLES, was the coolest damn badass I had ever seen - super smooth.  And it’s worth noting that his poignant portrayal as the leader of a small, ragtag group of guerillas banding together to wage war against a corrupt industrial hegemony taught me the little guy really can win against all odds.

Line to Live By: From ISHTAR, “It takes a lot of nerve to have nothing at your age, don't you understand that? Most guys'd be ashamed, but you've got the guts to just say 'to hell with it'. You say that you'd rather have nothing than settle for less, understand?”

Henri Mazza, Director Of National Promotions


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About Me: Henri Mazza has served as the head of the creative department for the Alamo Drafthouse since 2003, back when the now legendary theater chain was still a one screen cinema located in the warehouse district of downtown Austin. Working directly under founder Tim League, Henri oversaw the growth of the brand image as they opened 10 locations around Texas and grew the empire to include the Rolling Roadshow, Badass Digest, Mondo Tees, Fantastic Fest and Drafthouse Films. He created many of the signature events the theater has become known for, including the interactive Action Pack screenings of Sing-Alongs and Quote-Alongs, but his biggest claim to fame came in the summer of 2011 when the "Angry Texter Voicemail" PSA he put together quickly received nearly 5 million views online and was featured in major media outlets from The View to Anderson Cooper.

Programming Genius: The single greatest programming event we've ever done is always the one we're putting together next. We learn from each event we put together, and we constantly try to top ourselves. Eventually that will surely lead to my tragic death, but it'll probably be an awesome way to go out, so I'm cool with it.

Favorite Movies: THE JERK, BAD BOYS 2, INVISIBLE CHILD

Favorite Beers: Sierra Nevada's 30th Anniversary Reserve. That shit was awesome.

Badass Character: The Dread Pirate Roberts (but not necessarily Westley)

Line to Live By: "Station!" (BILL & TED’S BOGUS JOURNEY)

Sarah Pitre, Programmer


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About Me: As a programmer for the Alamo Drafthouse, Sarah is happily responsible for all "lady" screenings, including Girlie Night and Afternoon Tea. She graduated from Rice University in 2001 and got a Masters from UT Austin in 2008, but most of her professional expertise stems from watching the same ten movies over and over again. (And no, she's not tired of them.) Sarah is also crazycakes for young adult literature, an obsession that led to her creation of Forever Young Adult, a site for YA fans who are a little less Y and a bit more A. In her free time, Sarah enjoys fancy cocktails, dance parties and watching YouTube videos of different animals being friends.

Programming Genius: In December of 2008, Sarah decided to screen her favorite Christmas movie, LOVE ACTUALLY, for Girlie Night. The other programmers were skeptical (because they're boys). It is now an Alamo holiday tradition, with multiple sold out screenings. Told you so, boys!

Favorite Movie: YOU'VE GOT MAIL.

Favorite Beer: Champagne! Especially in can form.

Favorite Character: Phyllis Neffler in TROOP BEVERLY HILLS is basically my spirit animal. Khaki riches and cookie dreams!

Line to Live By: "So much of what I see reminds me of something I read in a book, when shouldn't it be the other way around?" - Kathleen Kelly in YOU'VE GOT MAIL

 

Greg MacLennan, Programmer/Video Editor


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About Me: After working at video stores and attending the University of Texas to study film production, Greg MacLennan used to write for several (now-defunct )websites and work on bad TV shows. He is currently a video editor and film programmer at the Alamo Drafthouse, where he programs Cinema Cocktails, Bangarang!, and Tough Guy Cinema. Greg's ideal woman is a baked good and he is originally from Canada...but you shouldn't hold that against him.

Programming Genius: Managing to talk the Drafthouse into letting me show a bunch of Jean-Claude Van Damme movies in a row for VAN DAMMAGE.

Favorite Movie: BRAZIL, LEON: THE PROFESSIONAL, SINGIN’ IN THE RAIN, THE APARTMENT, DELICATESSEN, THE FOUNTAIN, SOME LIKE IT HOT, BLADE RUNNER, COMMANDO, LIONHEART, PUNCH DRUNK LOVE, TIME BANDITS, and MONTY PYTHON

Favorite Beer: Austin Beerworks: Sputnik. Or a beer that is made out of Scotch.

Favorite Character: Leon from THE PROFESSIONAL. He loves milk, his best friend is a plant, and he loves watching Gene Kelly musicals.

Line to Live By: "Well...nobody's perfect!" – Osgood Fielding III in SOME LIKE IT HOT

 

Joseph A. Ziemba, Art Director/Programmer


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About Me: Joseph A. Ziemba is an art director and programmer for the Alamo Drafthouse. He's also the programmer and host of Terror Tuesday, Austin's weekly ground zero for horror treasures in 35mm. Joe is the creator of BLEEDINGSKULL.COM and co-author of BLEEDING SKULL! A 1980s TRASH-HORROR ODYSSEY (Headpress, 2013), both of which chronicle ultra-obscure horror movies that can never be recommended to anyone in good conscience. He's spent many years working as a graphic designer and even longer writing music and touring as a member of various bands. He is not a fan of Corey Feldman's work after LICENSE TO DRIVE. He was born and raised in the greater Chicagoland area. Joe really loves ice cream.

Programming Genius: Terror Tuesday and Weird Wednesday change my life on a weekly basis.

Favorite Movie: My favorite movie doesn't exist, but it falls somewhere between Francois Truffaut's 400 BLOWS, Doris Wishman's A NIGHT TO DISMEMBER, and everything ever filmed by Laurel & Hardy.

Favorite Beer: Red Stripe.

Favorite Character: Bigfoot, as depicted in NIGHT OF THE DEMON (1980).

Line to Live By: "You can trust me insipidly!" - Oliver Hardy, OUR RELATIONS (1936)

 

Jason Donoho, Research & Development Chef


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About Me: Jason Donoho has been working in the food and beverage industry since he was 12 years old. He grew up in the Caribbean and South America, traveling extensively on his family’s sailboat. Starting as a dishwasher after school, he eventually worked his way to up executive chef. Before joining the Drafthouse family, he cooked in San Juan, New York, San Francisco, Alaska, and Austin and created menus as Executive Chef of FINO and Asti. He is absolutely obsessed with cookbooks, restaurant menus, eating out and coffee.

Favorite Movies: In no particular order: Wayne’s World, Abre Los Ojos, Point Break, Big Night and everything Bond.

Favorite Drink: Gin & Soda with extra limes, or anything at Midnight Cowboy.

Favorite Character: Tony Shalhoub as Primo in BIG NIGHT.

Favorite Movie Quote: "Give people what they want, then later you can give them what you want." -Pascal in BIG NIGHT

Line to Live By: "The kitchen, the restaurant's a lifestyle. I think you really have to buy into that whole lifestyle. You can't have the mentality of a cook only at work. It's really important to be setting examples all the way back. If you're a cook in this kitchen, your drawer at home, your sock drawer, should be perfectly organized, because when you come to work everything else is perfectly organized." –Thomas Keller

 

Trish Eichelberger, Austin Market Concept Chef


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About Me: Trish started her service industry career at the age of 15 at a Houston General Cinema Theater in the neighborhood she grew up in. A year later she decided to expand her food service horizons by taking a job at an old Houston institution Antones Import Company, this is where her real love affair with food began. Working in this environment surrounded with co workers from all over the world the obsession with food from different cuisines quickly became a way of life. She soon after this packed up her budding cookbook collection and headed back to what she considered her real home town and place of birth, Austin, Texas. She landed a job as a delivery driver and assistant to Chef Rebecca Rather of The Bread Alone Bakery, which literally gave her back door access to the fine dining kitchens around town. From there she worked for several years at The 34th Street Café, and ultimately at Mars Restaurant and Bar. It was at Mars where she really began to hone her skills in fine dining cuisine. Under the tutelage of Chef John Bullington she worked her way up from line cook to Pastry and eventually a Sous Chef position. After several years at Mars she decided to follow John Bullington over to The Alamo Drafthouse as an Assistant Kitchen Manager at the opening of the Alamo Drafthouse on South Lamar. From there she accepted the Head Chef position at The Village Location, The Ritz location and later The Highball. She is now super excited to accept the position of Austin Market Chef and aims to keep the Special Programming food and film events as much a part of what makes the Alamo such a special place to both see movies at and work at. With a passion for the local farms, community events and the Austin food scene in general, she feels that the job is ripe with opportunity for both her and the Alamo Drafthouse.

Favorite Food and Film Event, so far: Julia And Julia, the five course French feast sold out three nights in a row and required a meager 70 lbs of clarified butter.

Favorite Movies: The Shining, Harold and Maude, God of Cookery.

Favorite Beer: 512 Pecan Porter- It is a great addition to a mole.

Favorite Character: Zoe Bell in Deathproof.

Favorite Movie Quote: “You guys want some cookies?”- Corky Romano

Line to Live By: "Food prepared with hate turns to poison in the mouth" -My friend Sam Sanford on angry line cooks.

 

Bill Norris, Beverage Director


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About Me: For seventeen years, Bill has poured drinks in venues from the Jersey Shore to London to New York to Austin, winning numerous awards and cocktail competitions along the way, and consulting on bars in Austin and Schulenburg, Texas While in New York, he helped to open L-Ray in the West Village with Chef Aaron Sanchez (Isla, Paladar and Mixx) and consulting chef Jimmy Bradley (The Red Cat, The Harrison). He was on the opening staff at FINO, where According to the Austin American Statesman, he "planted the sacred seeds" of the modern cocktail in Austin, before creating the nationally recognized bar program at Haddingtons. He graduated from Drew University with a degree in political science and writing, briefly toiled on political campaigns, and then returned to Sarah Lawrence College to earn an MFA in fiction writing. When his novel,Snapshots (still available for a film option if anyone is interested), was published in 2001, he thought his bar tending days were finished, but it turns out slinging drinks supports a writing habit, and the drinks gradually became his career.

Favorite Movie: Heathers, Bob Roberts, The Piano.

Favorite Drink: A nice Irish whiskey, and a pint of Guinness.

Favorite Character: Harvey Keitel as The Lieutenant in the original Bad Lieutenant--would you mess with him?

Line to Live By: "Screws fall out all the time, the world is an imperfect place." - John Bender in THE BREAKFAST CLUB

Kayla Williams, Director of National First Run Promotions


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About Me: Right after college, Kayla moved to Austin and got a job as a food runner at the Alamo 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.

Programming Genius: Hey Homo: WOMEN ON THE VERGE OF A NERVOUS BREAKDOWN with barbiturate spiked gazpacho.

Favorite Movie(s): LIVE FLESH, AUNTIE MAME, BOOM!, GREY GARDENS

Favorite Beers: Red wine, which luckily the Drafthouse carries as well.

Badass Character: Hedwig.

Favorite Movie Quote: “I suppose you think I'm going insane just to be fashionable.” –Jackie O., THE HOUSE OF YES

Line to Live By: “We're all different... Him, especially. But there's something kind of fantastic about that, isn't there?” – Mrs. Fox, FANTASTIC MR. FOX

 

Laird Jimenez, Video Editor


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About Me: After receiving a degree in digital video production from University of Georgia and a "degree" in video store management from Vision Video in Athens, Georgia, Laird followed the Oregon Trail in his '93 Toyota Camry to Seattle, Washington where he contracted a severe case of cinephilia. Doctors prescribed a tenure at the world's largest video store, Scarecrow Video, and as many repertory screenings as his schedule would allow. 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. A specialist recommended that cutting together preshows for the Alamo Drafthouse may prove therapeutic in releasing some of the cinematic demons that continue to haunt his psyche.

Preshow Genius: One of the best pieces of advice I got from the previous preshow editor was to always make the preshow for my "ideal" version of the movie. For MAN OF STEEL, that got me thinking about all the different ways Superman has appeared throughout pop culture around the world. I had a lot of fun digging through commercials, amateur fan films, cartoons, Turkish, Indian, and other appearances of the man of steel. Cutting together a montage of all of the repeating images of Superman set to the great 1960s pop song "Superman" by Texas-natives The Clique was some of the most fun I've ever had at a computer.

Favorite Movie(s): That's like asking which is my favorite internal organ. I love quoting RAISING ARIZONA; I love the radical provocations of UN CHIEN ANDALOU; I love the insane action and design of ROAD WARRIOR; I love the anarchistic humor of DUCK SOUP. Suffice it to say, I love movies!

Favorite Beer: Great Divide Espresso Oak Aged Yeti Imperial Stout

Badass Character: Groucho Marx

Line to Live By: "More brains!" - Tarman, RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD.

 

R.J. LaForce, Austin Creative Manager and Programmer


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About Me: R.J. LaForce is the Austin Creative Manager and a programmer for the Alamo. The first thing you’ll notice about him is that he’s tall. His first love was sports, then when he moved to Austin that passion transitioned to movies in a very unhealthy way. Since then he’s kind of done everything in the realm of film and filmmaking: he went to film school at UT, wrote and directed a bunch of terrible but fun short films and worked on Hollywood productions and TV shows. Fittingly, he now finds himself at the Alamo, a company that has been supporting his love of movies for over a decade.

Programming Genius: Since I have an academic background in film I’ve loved going to Cinema Club screenings because it’s a casual, fun way to learn about and discuss a film with purpose. That’s what made one of my very first programmed events, a Cinema Club screening of GRAND HOTEL w/ Tom Schatz, a special night.

Favorite Movie(s): This is a loaded question. So I’ll just name what I can think of: MODERN TIMES, THE EVIL DEAD, CASABLANCA, BOTTLE ROCKET, A CLOCKWORK ORANGE, DAZED AND CONFUSED, ZODIAC, DIRTY HARRY, THE 400 BLOWS, WAITING FOR GUFFMAN, GOOD WILL HUNTING, MAJOR LEAGUE, PSYCHO, WITHNAIL & I, GRAN TORINO, THE BEST YEARS OF OUR LIVES, THE LORD OF THE RINGS

Favorite Beers: Pabst Blue Ribbon, Stone IPA, Austin BeerWorks Black Thunder, Real Ale Devil’s Backbone, Sam Smith’s Winter Warmer

Favorite Character: Dignan in BOTTLE ROCKET

Favorite Movie Quote: “So there I am, in Sri Lanka, formerly Ceylon, at about 3 o'clock in the morning, looking for one thousand brown M&Ms to fill a brandy glass, or Ozzy wouldn't go on stage that night. So, Jeff Beck pops his head 'round the door, and mentions there's a little sweets shop on the edge of town. So - we go. And - it's closed. So there's me, and Keith Moon, and David Crosby, breaking into that little sweets shop, eh. Well, instead of a guard dog, they've got this bloody great big Bengal tiger. I managed to take out the tiger with a can of mace, but the shopkeeper and his son... that's a different story altogether. I had to beat them to death with their own shoes. Nasty business, really. But, sure enough, I got the M&Ms, and Ozzy went on stage and did a great show.” – Del Preston, WAYNE’S WORLD 2

Line to Live By: “If you plan ahead, then when things happen, you're prepared for them.” –Hank Hill, KING OF THE HILL

 

Tommy Swenson, Programmer


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About Me: When he was two years old, Tommy saw his first film, SNOW WHITE AND THE SEVEN DWARFS, at the historic Blue Mouse theater in Tacoma, WA. Later, he started working for the Alamo Drafthouse. In between, he went to one of those weird alternative colleges that let him write papers on things like “Cinema, Modernity and the Second Law of Thermodynamics”. He has been a projectionist at the Grand Illusion Cinema and is a video veteran, having done time at Austin’s Vulcan Video and Scarecrow Video in Seattle. Before becoming a programmer, Tommy was responsible for creating the Alamo Drafthouse’s preshow entertainment. He once spent a year in India teaching filmmaking to kids.

Programming Genius: An old timey spookshow complete with real ghosts, dancing skeletons and live ape.

Favorite Movie(s): NINOTCHKA, LES VAMPIRES, VIVA MARIA!, Abel Gance’s NAPOLEON, THE NUDE VAMPIRE, MOMENT TO MOMENT, NUITS ROUGES, HELLZAPOPPIN’, THE BLACK LIZARD, THE PATSY, WILD GALS OF THE NAKED WEST, CLEO FROM 5 TO 7, BEAT THE DEVIL, RAISING ARIZONA, BULLET FOR THE GENERAL, BEAUTY & THE BEAST, F FOR FAKE, ONLY ANGELS HAVE WINGS, DISHONORED, FORCES OF EVIL, I WALK WITH A ZOMBIE, THE BLACK BOOK, CHRISTMAS IN JULY, TARZAN’S NEW YORK ADVENTURE, THE CROOKED CIRCLE.  Plus maybe a few others, probably.

Favorite Beer: Root

Favorite Character: Katherine Hepburn as Sylvia Scarlett in SYLVIA SCARLETT

Line to Live By: “Merry Christmas, movie house!” - George Bailey, IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE