The Sprocket Society seeks to cultivate the love of the mechanical cinema, its arts and sciences, and to encourage film preservation by bringing film and its history to the public through screenings, educational activities, and our own archival efforts.
Founded in 2007 by Spencer Sundell and Brian Alter, we have produced public film screenings in Seattle since 2008, with programs ranging from silent film, to documentaries, to experimental and electronic cinema, to the Secret Matinee series (complete with weekly serial episodes), and more. The group had its genesis in a series of private backyard movie parties, which began in 2005 and are still ongoing.
In 2012, a branch chapter was formed in Austin, TX. Over two years, it produced several screenings and a Secret Matinee series at the Alamo Drafthouse Ritz.
At the 2012 AMIA conference, Sundell discussed The Sprocket Society as part of the panel, Collectors and Curators: Alternative Takes on Film Exhibition.
The Sprocket Society is not a corporation or business, non-profit or otherwise. It is simply a small group of people with a common interest.
Our Primary Goals
- Present film programs and experiences, for both general and specialized audiences.
- Encourage the continued exhibition of mechanical cinema of all eras in both professional and informal venues.
- Provide and promote education about the history of cinema, its creators, and the technologies used.
- Promote film preservation knowledge and activities.
- Cultivate an appreciation of cinema as an important art form, technology, historic record, and reflection of the human spirit.
Upcoming Sprocket Society film screenings and events are announced on our homepage.
To subscribe to our email list, and receive announcements of upcoming events, inquire by contacting us at sprocketsociety [at] gmail [dot] com. We do not share subscriber information or email addresses with anyone. It is a low-traffic list.
We also have an official Facebook page.
What Others Say About Us
- "Citizen Kane... The Magificent Ambersons... Tonight's back-to-back 35mm presentations of these films (starting with Ambersons) is a rare opportunity that should not be missed."
- Krishanu Ray, "The Stranger Suggests," The Stranger, April 13, 2014
- "For this screening, we watched a delightful group of short films – and I mean FILMS, no digital here. ...The group of shorts was well-curated, entertaining, and had real humor in it. ...Overall, it seemed like a really friendly group of people who were all passionate about film, which made me want to keep coming back for more screenings."
- Peggy, "The Sprocket Society's Fifth Anniversalodeon," My Year of Free Movies, June 8, 2013
- "This experience was certainly a pleasure for me...and it was evident that a level of excitement brew both from those who had no idea what to expect from the first [Austin Sprocket] Society screening and those who already heeded the message of the projector."
- Stefan Gill, "Reel One: Sprocket Society Flickers to Life at the Ritz," Slackerwood, September 6, 2012
- "The Secret Matinee Series is a step back in time, into futures past and alternate dimensions sprung from a cultural consciousness that still informs contemporary science-fiction filmmaking. It's an opportunity to experience these sci-fi cinematic forebears as intended: on a big screen, popcorn in hand, surrounded by enthusiastic movie-goers."
- Ann Linden, The Official Cambridge Film Festival & Arts Picturehouse Review, March 24, 2012
- "9. Intolerance – In a year where Hollywood became obsessed with the silents (The Artist & Hugo), Northwest Film Forum's screening of one of the giants from the silent era made my list [of 10 best film screenings of 2011]. DW Griffith's spectacle laid the groundwork for an editing style that has dominated Hollywood filmmaking ever since."
- Adam Sekuler, "Looking Back at 2011," Hot Splice, December 16, 2011
- "The most fun I had at the movies in 2010 was at the Grand Illusion's Halloween triple features. The titles were a secret, and half the fun was not knowing what you were going to see. ...Which is just to say that these Saturday afternoons at the Grand Illusion should bring back the fun of going to movies without expectations. Just get your ticket, go inside, and enjoy an old-fashioned Saturday afternoon at the movies."
- Bill White, Seattle Post-Globe, January 4, 2011
- "We're definitely keeping an eye out for more from the Sprocket Society, a film archive group that's going to be putting on some really cool presentations later this fall at both NWFF and The Grand Illusion..."
- Matt Selby, Seattlest, September 20, 2010
- "The Sprocket Society's Secret Sunday Matinee, which I recommend because it's totally fun and weird..."
- Lindy West, The Stranger, October 23, 2008
- Anna Samuels, "The Nerd Issue: Seattle's Beloved Geek Festivals," Seattle Magazine, Feb. 2011
- Vivian Hua, "Northwest Film Forum's Visual Music Series," Redfinemag.com, March 25, 2010
- Lindy West, "Betty Boop Scares the Shit Out of Lindy West", "Concessions," The Stranger, September 9, 2008
- Rosemary Jones, "Sprocket's Secret Sundays mean big fun at NWFF" (alternate URL), Capitol Hill Times, September 4, 2008
"I recently interviewed Spencer Sundell of the Sprocket Society about the newly created Secret Sunday Matinees at Northwest Film Forum."
- Sci-Fi Saturday Secret Matinees 2 (2012), Grand Illusion Flickr set
- Spencer Sundell host of Sci-Fi Saturday (2011), Grand Illusion Flickr set
- The Halloween Spook-Show Spectacular II: The To-Die Show (2010), Mike Whybark Flickr set
- MITBY06 (Movies in the Backyard, 2006), Brian Alter Flickr set
- MITBY06.2, Brian Alter Flickr set