With over 17 years experience in film programming, Cristina Cacioppo, the Creative Manager of Alamo Drafthouse NYC, first got her big break with the opening of 92YTribeca—which included a screening room with a film program that she was able to build from scratch. Eventually, the Alamo programmers offered Cristina her current role when they decided to open an NYC location. These days, she’s in charge of planning for screenings and events months ahead, plotting out the calendar, getting film prints, planning for live guests at Downtown Brooklyn’s Alamo Drafthouse. Cacioppo’s biggest goal is to build an adventurous movie-going audience.
How/why did you become involved in the line of work that resulted in you becoming the Creative Manager at Alamo Drafthouse NYC? For over 17 years I’ve been involved in film programming in one way or another. 2008 gave me my big break with the opening of 92YTribeca, which included a screening room with a film program that we were able to build from scratch. I was always inspired by the Austin Alamo programmers, and felt at the time there was nothing like it in NYC. For over five years, I worked on many film events and became friendly with the Alamo programmers, so when they were looking to open in NYC, I was lucky enough to get the job!
Tell us a little bit about your day to day and what is at stake, no doubt being busy with the recent opening of the already-beloved complex. My job involves so many different aspects—I am planning for screenings and events months ahead, plotting out our calendar, getting film prints, planning for live guests. We have multiple screenings every night, so often after all of that planning I get to see how the audience reacts, which is incredible to experience. And somewhere in there I am still always watching all kinds of films – new, old, big budget, micro budget.
What is your proudest achievement with this work and what is your greatest challenge? I feel proud when we sell out screenings and see enthusiasm from not only the audience, but the filmmakers and others that we work with. The challenge is to get people interested in a film they may not know much about. Certain films will always be easy draws, but that isn’t very exciting as a programmer. When you fill up a theater for a small indie or obscurity from decades ago, that feels great!
What do you hope changes or improves (or continues!) in your line of work in the future? I want to take more risks with the kinds of films we show, and build an audience that is adventurous in their movie-going.
For fun, who would you nominate for this list?
Marianne Ways. She is a comedy booker/promoter/producer who does all kinds of events in BK, including Night Train with Wyatt Cenac at Littlefield.