The top 10 films of 2014… on 12th Ave

The Grand Budapest Hotel made Bush's list. CHS gives it ***

The Grand Budapest Hotel made Bush’s list. CHS gives it ***

There are some bad signs for the future of film — and some good. Let’s turn to Lyall Bush, the executive director of 12th Ave’s Northwest Film Forum, for some home hope. NWFF has posted Bush’s 2014 top 10 list. You can add your picks in comments. The constraints are time-flexible. We don’t really care what year the film was made — just tell us what you watched and liked in 2014 and where you saw it.

Civilization and its Disturbances: The Year in Film vis Northwest Film Forum’s Lyall Bush

  1. force majeure asks us to regard nature against something like artifice
  2. Contempt — one of Jean-Luc Godard’s major films, and therefore one of the greatest films ever made
  3. The Grand Budapest Hotel — in his own highly designed way Anderson has made his Vertigo
  4. La Voz de los Silenciados — the film’s tale of human enslavement in New York quite originally suggests Czech surreal filmmaking from decades ago
  5. A Spell to Ward of the Darkness — a beautiful braid of the complex, the stirring, and the disturbing
  6. A Touch of Sin — a bigger film than he has previously made, harder and shinier
  7. Under the Skin — arresting film about an alien on the streets of Glasgow
  8. Nymphomaniac, Vol. 1 — Von Trier, and his leading lady, Charlotte Gainsbourg, make it something of a deconstruction of civilization and its discontents
  9. In Country — a documentary about Vietnam war re-enactors in Oregon
  10. Speed of Sound — what happens when the text message from a friend who died a year ago pops up on a phone

Harvard Exit’s future is preservation-minded restaurant and office development

"machine of light and dream, harvard exit theater" (Image: davamoore via Flickr)

“machine of light and dream, harvard exit theater” (Image: davamoore via Flickr)

“Woman’s Century Club, Seattle, ca. 1925″ (Image:  MOHAI)

“Woman’s Century Club, Seattle, ca. 1925″ (Image: MOHAI)

The historic Harvard Exit building is here to stay, but its 46-year run as a movie theater will come to an end this January. The building’s new owner, developer Scott Shapiro, tells CHS he is planning a year-long overhaul to transform the twin-cinema’s interior into offices, a restaurant, and possibly a bar.

The Harvard Exit is a marquee property in the Harvard-Belmont Historic District, and the preservation-minded Shapiro said the 1925-built masonry exterior will remain completely intact.

“You’ll drive by and you wouldn’t notice any thing has changed,” Shapiro said, adding that he would uncover one row of currently boarded-up south-facing windows. “I love historic buildings, and if there’s a way to keep them and find a new use for them, that’s what I’m for.”

Shapiro tells CHS a restaurant or cafe will likely take over the building’s 1,500 square-foot lobby, while he envisioned a bar moving into the 2,200 square-foot basement. The rest of the building will become “creative offices,” including the two 5,000 square-foot theater spaces and two upper floors of existing offices. Continue reading

Now showing: The Capitol Hill Developer Who Bought the Harvard Exit


(Image: Landmark Theatres)

The buyer of the historic, 1925-built building home to the Harvard Exit movie theater is a Capitol Hill developer and real estate investor who owns some of the most interesting properties in Seattle’s inner city.

CHS has learned that the real estate investment company owned by Scott Shapiro, the developer who helped create Melrose Market, is purchasing the three-story masonry building that has been home to cinema since the 1960s.Screen Shot 2014-12-03 at 11.36.44 AM

Shapiro has not yet returned messages from CHS sent in recent weeks but construction permits filed with the city and people involved with businesses and organizations in the area have confirmed the involvement of Shapiro’s Eagle Rock Ventures. There is no public record, yet, of the sale. UPDATE: CHS received a text message from Shapiro’s number after posting this article: “no comment.”

CHS has not been told what comes next for the building after national chain Landmark Theatres moves out in January but it will most likely involve significant upgrades and changes inside the 90-year-old building. Continue reading

Capitol Hill’s Harvard Exit Theatre to close

IMG_3045After nearly 40 years, the Harvard Exit Theatre will go dark this January. Landmark Theatres confirmed to CHS Monday that the company would cease screenings at the twin cinema mid-January after being notified that the longtime family owners secured a deal to sell the historic building at Harvard Ave and E Roy. CHS is working to confirm the buyer’s identity. UPDATE – Now showing: The Capitol Hill Developer Who Bought the Harvard Exit

Landmark president and CEO Ted Mundorff also said the Los Angeles-based company is pulling out of the the U-District’s Varsity Theater in January. “We’re sad to say goodbye to our loyal customers,” Mundorff said in a statement. Continue reading

Get out the vote… for the Capitol Hill Web Series

10174867_304470859746886_5066473175010199401_nWhen last we checked in on the trials and tribulations of Roses Smell, her Capitol Hill Web Series was getting the big screen treatment with a special showing at Central Cinema.

Now comes an Election Day reminder that Roses and the project from Wes Hurley and Waxie Moon depicting “a slightly more ridiculous version” of Capitol Hill “replete with soap opera histrionics and 1970’s-style sitcom hijinks” needs your vote:

Capitol Hill series has been selected to compete for the best web series at the prestigious Geneva International Film Festival. This is a big step up, we’ll be competing with the likes of The New York Times. In addition to theatrical screenings in Geneva, the festival is allowing you to watch and vote for best show online.

You can add your (daily!) support here at the festival web site and help Roses make it all the way from the backwater of Portland, Oregon to the bright lights of Geneva.

Paul Allen wants to show you movies about the economy tonight on Capitol Hill — for free

(Image: We the Economy)

(Image: We the Economy)

Capitol Hill’s only remaining chain movie theater and Paul Allen’s Vulcan Productions — yes, he makes movies, too — are teaming up for a free screening Monday night of a new short film collection about making money in America and the state of the nation’s economy. Produced by Allen’s film company and Morgan Spurlock, short film collection We the Economy screens for free at E Roy’s Landmark Harvard Exit and in brick and mortar theaters across the country Monday night, October 20th, before being released — also for free — as an online series. You can reserve your ticket for Monday’s 7 PM showing or hope to grab one at the box office at 807 E Roy. Continue reading

2014 Seattle Lesbian & Gay Film Festival: 51 features, 112 shorts, 3 Capitol Hill screens

10689714_880557738622356_5567813280795476381_nAfter a celebratory grand re-opening weekend, SIFF Cinema Egyptian gets down to business this week as the centerpiece of Capitol Hill venues hosting the 2014 Seattle Lesbian & Gay Film Festival.

Poster art for webThursday, the 19th annual edition of the festival and first-year fest director Kathleen Mullen welcome Greg Louganis to kick off 11 days of LGTBQ-focused cinema with an Egyptian screening of Back on Board, a documentary about the life and legacy of the Olympic champion diver.

In addition to gay and lesbian stars and subject matter, the festival continues to seek out the work of great LGTBQ filmmakers. “The films this year are outstanding with much of our strongest work from female and queer directors,” Three Dollar Bill Cinema director Jason Plourde said in a statement about the Capitol Hill-based group’s annual festival.

Overall, this year’s SLGFF includes 51 features and 112 shorts representing 32 countries, including 30 “Northwest premieres,” 5 West Coast premieres, and a world premiere. Venues include the Egyptian, Northwest Film Forum, Harvard Exit and Pacific Place. Ticket prices vary. A full festival pass will run you $225. You can see the full schedule and buy your passes here.

You can learn more at

Filmmakers seek foxtrotting extras for Broadway Dance Steps shoot

A community-funded film about “why Seattle is a great city for entrepreneurs and creatives” is looking for extras to appear in a clip featuring Broadway’s most iconic and most fiercely copyright-protected public art. Your qualifications? You like to dance:

(Image: We Make Seattle)

(Image: We Make Seattle)

We’re filming this Thursday on Cap Hill and need some extras. This is your chance to be in the film.

This shoot is to capture the sidewalk dance sculptures on Broadway. They’re legendary symbols of creativity in Seattle and we finally got official permission to film them.

What we need are folks willing to have some fun, trying to figure out how to do the steps on camera. It’s easy, no dance skills are required (though if you have some that’s cool too), just a fun attitude.

In 2011, CHS reported on the settlement of a lawsuit over the Broadway Dance Steps involving a photographer whose work ended up on a stock photo site and the artist who created the inlaid brass footprints, Jack Mackie.

We Make Seattle is described as a short film that will “show the world how great Seattle is for creatives and entrepreneurs who have big ideas and the passion to invest in them.” It is produced by Bryan Zug and Adam Baggett of Bootstrapper Studios. It is directed by Seattle author Scott Berkun.

The project gets underway at 5:45 PM Thursday — the same night as Capitol Hill’s October art walk. You can learn more and let the filmmakers know your availability here.

Sneak preview: Inside Capitol Hill’s SIFF Cinema Egyptian

(Images: CHS)

(Images: CHS)

IMG_2896The smell of freshly popped popcorn wafting out onto E Pine and a line of giddy moviegoers stretching around the block onto Harvard can only signal one thing: The Egyptian is back.

After having shuttered its doors for over a year, the Capitol Hill movie theater officially reopens Friday.

Earlier this week, the Egyptian got a head start on its new life with a VIP invite-only celebratory flurry of complimentary champagne, salted caramel, chocolate cookies, and, of course, a movie screening for Seattle International Film Festival donors and sponsors who helped fund the extensive interior renovations to the venue inside the one-time Masonic temple.

“This has been such an amazing palace for theater for so long, and I think many of us who have been involved in all the festivals for SIFF over the years have come to find it as one of our homes,” said Jeff Stolz, a SIFF member for 10 years. “It’s so exciting that it has come back.”IMG_3077

Have a drink on Capitol Hill, get in free
Starting Friday, SIFF Cinema Egyptian will hold its official grand opening celebration for the public from October 3rd through 5th, showing a variety of its most popular films. All tickets are $5 dollars (in advance or at the door) — but you can get in for free with a receipt from a Capitol Hill business. Continue reading

What to expect when The Egyptian’s cleaned-up curtain rises following 25-year SIFF intermission

(Image courtesy Serena Preston - SIFF)

(Image courtesy Serena Preston – SIFF)

In Capitol Hill: The Movie, the best characters are never truly dead.

Not two years after Landmark Theaters shut the doors on the historic Egyptian Theatre, the Seattle International Film Festival will present a re-boot of the much-loved Capitol Hill movie venue. SIFF will re-open the newly renovated 99-year-old building at 801 E Pine this week for program members and follow that with a weekend-long celebration of the theater’s past, future and its place in Seattle.

“The timing is perfect right now,” Carl Spence, artistic director at SIFF said. “We’re preserving a venue that we created to begin with.” Continue reading