Sad News: Lars Nilsen Leaving Drafthouse Programming Post

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Fantastic Fest 2011, Day Eight

News that Lars Nilsen (pictured at top on left) is leaving his programmer position at Alamo Drafthouse was released today by Alamo Drafthouse. The news comes as no surprise to those closely familiar with the Drafthouse programming team, but it is still unwelcome news. Few businesses have a relationship so strong between their employees and customers as Alamo Drafthouse can boast, one that can truly be called a family. And in the case of Lars Nilsen, that relationship goes back to the earliest days at 4th and Colorado.

Coming on top of last week's departure of programmer Zack Carlson, this represents a major transition in the Drafthouse family with as-yet unknown effects. Zack and Lars were not just silent, behind-the-scenes programmers. Together, they have been the most public-facing representatives of the Drafthouse on a daily basis, and creators of feature programs like Weird Wednesday and Terror Tuesdays.

With any family, the kids eventually grow up and head to college and start their own careers and families. As these gentlemen move on to bigger and better things in their careers, the effect of their time here will continue to be felt even as new faces appear to make their own marks.

Here's the press release, in full:

Greetings,

Alamo Drafthouse announces that longtime programmer Lars Nilsen will be leaving his current role at the Alamo Drafthouse to explore a new chapter in his career. Nilsen will maintain an advisor role with the Alamo Drafthouse programming team and continue to program and host his popular weekly series, "Weird Wednesday."

"Lars was the first true film nerd I met when I opened the Alamo Drafthouse back in 1997," says Alamo founder Tim League. "I have enjoyed working with him for many years to craft the Alamo Drafthouse programming and identity. Lars has left a huge impression on me personally and on Austin's film community in general. I intend to continue working closely with him at his new role, which will be announced shortly."

"It has been my intention for some time to move on and let some other good folks enjoy the benefits, as well as the backbreaking labor and stress of the programming role. Over the past year or so Zack Carlson and I have spent countless hours mentoring, instructing and hiring some very talented people who are now finally ready to take their turn at the wheel. The Alamo culture means a lot to us, and in the hands of Sarah, Sam, Greg, Joe, RJ and the support staff, that culture is not only alive, it's multiplying out of control. Things couldn't be in better hands and I look forward to attending the Alamo as a customer for years to come as well as working with the Alamo on specific projects and in a long term consulting role," said Nilsen.

Fantastic Fest 2008: 'Road Warrior' screening;

Please share your favorite Lars stories and links to photos in the comments.

[Photo credit: "Fantastic Fest 2011, Day Eight: Lars Nilsen and Eric Vespe" and "Fantastic Fest 2008: 'Road Warrior' Screening" by J. Kernion. All rights reserved.]