January 18, 2017—We regret to report that IMAX Technical Services legend Russell “Russ” Cardinell died January 2, 2017, at the age of 75. Russ was instrumental in training and coaching IMAX projectionists from around the world and was deeply respected for his passion and dedication to the film business. He was born into a family of film projectionists and technicians and dedicated his whole life to ensuring that theater patrons experienced the highest quality presentations possible. Russ was also a proud member of the Canadian Armed Forces.
In 1979, Russ began working at IMAX as a service and installation technician, traveling worldwide to set up new film theaters and perform maintenance and emergency response. He worked in many capacities for the IMAX service group throughout the years, including managing the field service teams and inventory.
As the IMAX theater network expanded, Russ was instrumental in developing the Service Partnership Program (SPP) to give IMAX customers the capability of servicing their own projection systems. Russ provided training to many IMAX customer technicians, sharing his vast technical knowledge of the product as well as the importance of making sure the IMAX presentation is the best it can be for the theater-going public.
Russ retired from IMAX in November 2008 after a long career that touched many people in the industry, including the following technicians who benefited from his expertise and shared their thoughts about him with us.
Dick Vaughan, former IMAX Technical and Program Manager for the National Media Museum and Science Museum in London: “I first met Russ in October 1984 when he taught me to tear down, reassemble, and tune the old classic 2D IMAX projector at the old OMAX HQ at Invicta Drive. Over the next 30 years he coached me through many problems with numerous projectors. I owe him a great deal.”
Shawn Fitzmaurice, former Chief Projectionist/Technical Coordinator at the Museum of Science, Boston, and former projectionist at the New England Aquarium: “I learned an awful lot from him and was a far better technician because of him. This man did what we all aspire to—he made a difference.”
Patrick Caldwell, Technical Services Specialist, IMAX Corporation: “I had great respect for Russ and his skill at his delightful ‘stern methods’ of making you remember virtually all that he taught. He was an encyclopedia of all that was large format projection. I assisted him one time in the old screening room, and he complimented me with ‘you'll make a good projectionist one day.’ I grinned from ear to ear when he said that. His heart was where it belonged: The best quality presentation possible under any circumstances.”
Dean Fick, Technical Manager, Theaters, Smithsonian Enterprises: “Russ Cardinell was an important part of the IMAX team for many years. Whether installing projection systems or supporting clients after opening, he was one of the foundations upon which the IMAX reputation for technical excellence was built. His most lasting legacy is through the many projectionists and technical support technicians he had a part in training. Russ’s driving philosophy was that for any task, there was usually a specific, best way in which to accomplish it, making no compromises, and giving the best effort possible. That’s a good way to approach many aspects of life. We will miss him, but his memory and influence will live on.”
A celebration of life service was held on January 7 in Cambridge, Ontario. Read Russell Cardinell’s full obituary here: Russell Cardinell Obituary