Here’s how you can see a movie at SIFF Cinema Egyptian before October’s grand re-opening

Neighborhood film lovers have already marked the weekend of October 3rd for a reunion with The Egyptian Theatre as part of SIFF’s grand re-opening of the space. But there’s an opportunity next week to be among the first to enjoy a film in the overhauled theater as SIFF’s Women in Cinema opens its 2014 showcase with a party and screening on E Pine:

September 18 | SIFF Cinema Egyptian & SIFF Cinema Uptown
SIFF’s annual celebration of Women in Cinema returns, showcasing exceptional films from women around the world. Opening night takes place at the newly reopened SIFF Cinema Egyptian, and features Seattle favorite Lynn Shelton’s new film Laggies. The festival continues with Danish master Pernille Christensen’s award-winning Someone You Love; stunning foreign Oscar® submissions from Norway (I am Yours) and the Philippines (Transit); and enlightening new documentaries from Winter’s Bone director Debra Granik (Stray Dog) and Tina Mascara and Guido Santi (Monk with a Camera).

Free tickets to Women in Cinema opening night
Want to be our guest at the party? CHS is giving away a pair of tickets to one lucky CHS reader. Please leave a comment with your favorite line from your favorite “woman in cinema” below or on Facebook by today (9/12/14) at 5 PM Seattle standard time. We’ll randomly select a winner from the bunch. You can enter more than once if you like but we’ll include each email address or Facebook profile one time only in the drawing. Oh, you love movies, right? In addition to the party, WIC 2014 starts off with a screening of Laggies directed by Lynn Shelton.

The last video rental shop on Capitol Hill has closed

Employees Chris Hirinig and Will Corr help out customers in 2010 (Image: Clara Ganey for The Spectator with permission to CHS)

Employees Chris Hirinig and Will Corr help out customers in 2010 (Image: Clara Ganey for The Spectator with permission to CHS)

Fire Station 7 has been home to a lot of movies -- and a lot of history (Image: Seattlest)

Fire Station 7 has been home to a lot of movies — and a lot of history (Image: Seattlest)

It’s difficult to believe it lasted this long — and that there’s not a bar or restaurant entrepreneur or three chomping at the bit to turn an old Capitol Hill firehouse into their next food+drink venture.

On an afternoon of celebration for its neighborhood at the 15th Ave E Sidewalk Festival, On 15th Video announced it had closed down its more than two decade-old movie rental business:

Dearest Customers,

It is with great sadness that we share with you that our ownership has made the extremely difficult decision to close our beloved video store, effective immediately.

Speaking on behalf of the employees, some who have worked at On 15th Video for more than 14 years, we want to say how very sorry we are that we can’t continue to provide quality home video for this wonderful community here on Capitol Hill.

Continue reading

Capitol Hill and Madison Park-shot short Julia’s Farm ‘a dark crime drama with two women in charge’

(Image: Julia's Farm)

(Image: Julia’s Farm)

Shooting a movie on Capitol Hill is not the simplest endeavor, especially when the first day of shooting is May Day. Sudeshna Sen began to shoot her crime drama short on May 1st inside Capitol Hill’s Bonney Watson funeral home.

“We were doing dark, weighty scenes, and there was the parade and helicopters going around,” says Sen, “at one point I just thought maybe we should reschedule.“

The cast and crew were filming inside the funeral home and decided to go outside only to find a S.W.A.T team in the parking lot. The day’s events were unexpected but director and screenplay writer Sen was able to keep her capture the scene’s she needed.

Julia’s Farm was filmed in three day with 90% of the footage either in Bonney Watson or in an apartment in Madison Park.  Continue reading

SIFF Cinema Egyptian to debut with ‘biggest hits,’ free admission for new Capitol Hill neighbors

The reopening of Capitol Hill’s Egyptian Theatre in its new life as SIFF Cinema Egyptian will start with a weekend of modern art house classics from Amélie to Enter the Dragon.

SIFF announced the opening lineup this week and dropped details of the return of midnight movies — plus, free opening weekend admission for anybody who stops by a local Capitol Hill business before the show.

CHS broke the news in early August of SIFF’s October plan to reopen the Capitol Hill move theater following a successful $300,000+ fundraising drive. At the launch of this year’s Seattle International Film Festival, organizers announced they had secured a 10-year lease with Seattle Central College to occupy the 1916-built Egyptian after Landmark Theatres left the space last year.

In addition to the opening weekend lineup — which also includes a screening of the Japanese classic Kagemusha, the first feature movie shown when the Egyptian first opened as a theater in 1980 — SIFF announced the re-start of Friday and Saturday midnight movies just in time for Halloween season. Starting October 9th, the film nonprofit said it will also host the 2014 Seattle Lesbian and Gay Film Festival at the Egyptian.

A SIFF representative said standard ticket pricing at the Egyptian will be the same as the nonprofit’s Uptown theater: $12, plus $11 for youth/senior, and $7 for SIFF members. There will also be $9 bargain matinees. And, yes, you’ll be able to purchase beer and wine to add to your cinematic experience in the theater.

We’ll have more on the E Pine re-opening and the state of movie watching and film on Capitol Hill soon. The full announcement from SIFF is below.  Continue reading

Bike-In movie night at Cal Anderson cranks up bike theme for 9th annual event

LhOzRGu4InH4Ln9OfiD7VvZcOxNjPqQ-lJ7xAb7KV-YszlrwhJ_k8xq6NVHgkVRaViS9pd6-ZZYt4l54gm57hI_oVb72OrSdj5s_EbbIUNJ9tlsKiupi-5p3UmFSiy58sMb4BUxiFX4lP4EsN9cuHtnNqCSYN1IkUxvK8wINLA2wdfWz2PIsa3l8xcoHaL8gNO85gFLjYqaeuGdAgUxuy4sBiking over to Cal Anderson Park on a warm August evening to take in an outdoor movie is practically a summer tradition on Capitol Hill. On Saturday, the Northwest Film Forum’s 9th annual Seattle Bike-In will be even bikey-er as it screens Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s bike chase thriller Premium Rush! as well as eight bike film shorts. The Bike-In is free and starts at dusk.

Meanwhile, regularly scheduled programming continues at Three Dollar Bill Cinema’s outdoor movies in Cal Anderson with Clueless this Friday. Here are more Bike-In details from NWFF:

Named as one of the reasons Pike/Pine belongs in the “Top 12 Art Places in America,” the Seattle Bike-In has become a staple of the summer outdoor movie calendar. Our annual event in Cal Anderson Park on Capitol Hill celebrates sustainable transportation, urban community and summer nights! Grab your bike and your friends for a free outdoor film—summer nights never felt so right to be on two wheels.

This year’s program includes a lineup of bike film shorts, plus the Joseph Gordon-Levitt bike chase thriller Premium Rush!

(David Koepp, United States, 2012, 91 min)

A dashing bike messenger rogue named Wilee must fly on two wheels through Manhattan to deliver a message to Chinatown, before a dirty cop catches him!

Joseph Gordon-Levitt fixees his way through choreographed bike chases in this hilarious B-movie fueled by pure adrenaline and Tex Avery-style zaniness! If you ever dared to dream the French Connection’s climatic show down could be paired performed with environmentally friendly vehicles, your wish has come true.

Continue reading

SIFF fundraising campaign seeks to ‘Save the Egyptian’

2014 SIFF honoree is greeted by presenter Eddie Vedder as the popular film festival returned for another year at the Egyptian (Image courtesy a CHS reader!)

2014 SIFF honoree is greeted by presenter Eddie Vedder as the popular film festival returned for another year at the Egyptian (Image courtesy a CHS reader!)

It turns out Capitol Hill’s Egyptian Theatre still needs some saving, even after the film-focused nonprofit SIFF announced in May they had moved in to put the venue back in motion. At the launch of this year’s Seattle International Film Festival, festival organizers announced they had secured a 10-year lease with Seattle Central College to occupy the 1916-built Egyptian after Landmark Theatres left the space last year.

SIFF is now seeking to raise $300,000 to repair the aging 600-seat theater and re-open it this fall in what many hope will be a doubling of their successes at Queen Anne’s SIFF Cinema Uptown. Last month SIFF announced plans to buyout the Uptown after occupying it for several years.

According to SIFF, the “Save the Egyptian” fundraising campaign will fund new equipment for the projection room, sorely needed upgrades to the building’s plumbing and electrical systems, and a new sound system. The fundraising effort is being backed by two unnamed, but apparently well heeled, super-donors that are offering to match donations up to $155,000.

And like any good fundraising campaign ought to do, SIFF will take your money in any number of ways, including via text message.

After remaining dark for several months, the Egyptian was revived in May to play host to this year’s Seattle International Film Festival. The festival, which wrapped up earlier this month, is one of the largest film festival’s in the U.S.

SIFF and the Egyptian share an extended back-story. Built in 1916, the former Masonic temple was bought by SIFF founders Darryl MacDonald and Dan Ireland in 1980. The duo were the first to transform it into the Egyptian-themed theater. After running it for nearly a decade, SIFF sold the theater to Landmark in 1989. Seattle Central bought the building two years later, keeping Landmark as its tenant.

Little Theater’s long run as 19th Ave performance space likely over as WET exits

(Image: CHS)

(Image: CHS)

Comedy The Hunchback of Seville will likely be the last work staged inside Capitol Hill's Little Theater (Image: WET)

Comedy The Hunchback of Seville will likely be the last work staged inside Capitol Hill’s Little Theater (Image: WET)

It was a good run for Capitol Hill’s unique Little Theater – certainly longer than many would have expected from a tiny performance space on the quiet side of Capitol Hill. But when the Washington Ensemble Theatre moves out of its decade-long home at the end of July, the days of a 19th and Mercer theater are probably over, too.

Andrew Person, an agent with building owner Northwest Commercial Real Estate Investments, tells CHS a restaurant or bar will most likely take over the 1,500 square foot space.

“We’re not necessarily looking for another a theater. It’s basically just going to be a rectangular box,” Person said. Continue reading

Capitol Hill web series gets the big screen treatment at Central Cinema

Capitol Hill follows "follows an innocent young girl, named Roses Smell, who escapes the terrible backwater hell-hole of Portland, Oregon and comes to beautiful Seattle, Washington, in hopes of a better life."

Looks like PDX! Capitol Hill “follows an innocent young girl, named Roses Smell, who escapes the terrible backwater hell-hole of Portland, Oregon and comes to beautiful Seattle, Washington, in hopes of a better life.”

Follow the exploits and exploitation of Roses Smell with an audience as web series Capitol Hill comes to the big screen later this week at Central Cinema:

May 22, 2014 at 8:00 PM
Central Cinema

The screening will include surprise performances and will be followed by Q&A

Tickets are $15.

CHS wrote here about the latest project from Wes Hurley and Waxie Moon depicting “a slightly more ridiculous version” of Capitol Hillreplete with soap opera histrionics and 1970’s-style sitcom hijinks.” You can also follow the series of seven-ish-minute episodes via YouTube.

CHS Pics | The curtain rises again at The Egyptian with award for Wild at Heart star

IMG_1848_2IMG_1807The Egyptian Theatre returned to service on Capitol Hill this weekend as the venue reopened to host an award ceremony honoring veteran actress Laura Dern and kick off its month of screenings as part of the 40th annual Seattle International Film Festival.

Dern appeared Saturday to receive her Dale Chihuly-designed SIFF award for outstanding achievement in acting and to take part in an on-stage interview session as part of a special screening of the David Lynch classic Wild at Heart.

Thursday, SIFF officials made it official and announced the nonprofit arts organization had inked a 10-year lease for the shuttered theater and would embark on a summer renovation with plans for a full reopening of the venue this fall.

Saturday, Dern thanked the crowd and surprise presenter Eddie Vedder and added that the people of Seattle were getting back a beautiful and historic theater in the form of the old Egyptian.

In the meantime, The Egyptian (SIFF schedule) along with The Harvard Exit (SIFF schedule) will host dozens of films in coming weeks as the 2014 festival plays out.


Stories of a 1960s Capitol Hill adolescence part of SIFF’s 40th year

IMG_7008Far from today’s metropolitan bastion of progressivism, the Capitol Hill of 1966 was a predominantly residential enclave populated by white catholic families who were squarely middle class and socially conservative. It was the world Seattle playwright and performer Matt Smith inhabited during his adolescent years and it’s the world he returns to in his new film My Last Year with the Nuns.

“Nobody has written about what it was like growing up on Capitol Hill. It’s a village and tradition that is vanishing,” Smith said.

Trailer – My Last Year with the Nuns from Pressing Pictures on Vimeo.

The semi-autobiographical film shot last summer around the neighborhood is an adaptation of Smith’s 1999 namesake monologue, comprised of personal stories about coming of age with his fellow 8th graders at Capitol Hill’s St. Joseph catholic school. In the film, which premieres May 21st at the Seattle International Film Festival, a present-day Smith tells his stories from the Capitol Hill locations where they happened. Still vivid in Smith’s memory is the old newspaper shack near 19th and Mercer where white and black kids tensely met each morning before their paper routes, and the lot behind the old Red Mill Burgers (now Tully’s) at 19th and Aloha where they used to fight after school.
Continue reading

SIFF makes it official: The Egyptian to reopen this fall in 10-year deal

422630_386883348007999_381692854_n-1-600x222No plot twist here. With only one bidder capable of meeting the school’s mission to maintain the space as an active movie theater, Seattle Central has inked its expected deal with SIFF as the organization begins its 40th annual festival.

CHS reported last month that SIFF stood as the lone bidder in the school’s year-long process to find a new tenant for the theater after the Landmark chain pulled the plug on its projectors last summer.

Details of the 10-year lease with Seattle Central are in a statement provided to CHS by the school, below. The deal calls for SIFF to extensively renovate the former Masonic temple including “additional seating, improving the sound and projection equipment, refurbishing existing signage, adding a new bar and concessions area, installing new carpeting and fresh paint, expanding the bathrooms and more.” The overhaul will also include what can only be a film-enhancing improvement — the addition of beer and wine to the menu.

At the opening of its 2014 festival Thursday night, SIFF announced it was also buying the Uptown Theater it has been utilizing in Lower Queen Anne. The nonprofit said it will begin a donation campaign to help fund the work on the new SIFF Cinema Egyptian.

SIFF said it expects the theater to reopen this fall. In the meantime, it is reopened for the festival this month temporarily to screen films for the first time since its 2013 shuttering.

SIFF and the Egyptian share an extended back-story. Built in 1916, the former Masonic temple was bought by SIFF founders Darryl MacDonald and Dan Ireland in 1980. The duo were the first to transform it into the Egyptian-themed theater. After running it for nearly a decade, SIFF sold the theater to Landmark in 1989. SCCC bought the building two years later, keeping Landmark as its tenant.

2014 marks the 40th year for the film festival that organizers say “is the largest, most highly attended film festival in the United States reaching more than 150,000 annually.”

The full announcement from Seattle Central is below. Continue reading

With scenes from across Capitol Hill, film exploring depression and suicide makes Seattle debut

A scene shoot across the bay in West Seattle (Image:

A scene shoot across the bay in West Seattle (Image:

A film with many scenes shot around Capitol Hill — including the old Bauhaus and St. Mark’s, Elliott Bay Book Co., and “several private properties on Federal Ave E, and Harvard Ave E”  – will make its Seattle debut this week in a co-presentation by the Northwest Film Forum and Cinerama. Wednesday’s Cinerama screening of Nothing Against Life will include a Q&A following the film with many of the cast and crew in attendance. Wednesday’s screening benefits Youth Suicide Prevention Program-Washington.

Come celebrate with us the Seattle premiere of Nothing Against Life ! ( We are excited to share the film with the remarkable local community that has supported our efforts from beginning to end, and it gives us all a great deal of pleasure to support the important work of Youth Suicide Prevention Program-Washington. Helping create a space for dialogue about suicide and mental health was always one of our main goals in making the film. Several of our amazing cast and crew members will be attending the premiere.

Tickets available through Cinerama’s website. Invite your friends-

Doors open at 6:00pm, with a brief introduction held at 6:45pm, and the film screening starting at 7:00pm. Q&A to follow.

‘Nueva ola’ cinema on Capitol Hill, Northwest Film Forum hosts Pulsos Latinos film festival

Por Las Plumas2
From Por las Plumas,by Neto Villalobos, Ecuador, 2013

After the marquee finally changed last Tuesday, an alcohol-induced paper trail has had CHS wondering out loud whether SIFF has already secured its bid for a 10-year lease on The Egyptian. The deal would have the city’s most prominent film curator sticking around Capitol Hill long after the festival proper lights up the theater’s lonely screen once again for three weeks starting May 15. While we may have to bear with the great unknown for a bit, in the meantime a bit farther up the road, 12th Ave’s Northwest Film Forum continues to defend the neighborhood against total cinematic meltdown with programming that consistently qualifies the Hill as an all-seasons site for the independent film circuit. Friday, the first, and possibly the first-annual, Pulsos Latinos series kicks off tonight exemplifies the Forum’s contribution.


From Purgatoria by Rodrigo Reyes, Mexico/USA, 2012

Scheduled amidst a number of thematic film series’ the Forum has added to its calendar in recent years, the eight-day Pulsos Latinos will showcase work said to represent a “nueva ola” — or new wave — of Latino cinema swelling up as it were from a milieu the guest curator and programmer for the series, veteran film critic and Cinema Scope writer Jay Kuehner, says has moved from the “margins” to being “almost a forefront” of global cinema in recent years.

“Latino cinema is setting a precedent for the industry in terms of creativity, in terms of production and also in terms of getting films off the ground in difficult financial times,” Kuehner said. “We want to acknowledge this moment of ascendance,” he said, explaining the drive of Pulsos Latinos. “That’s the impetus behind this.” Continue reading

Plot twist: SIFF’s boozy Cinema Seattle clue of what comes next for The Egyptian

(Image: @HueyJune via Twitter)

(Image: @HueyJune via Twitter)

As CHS reported earlier this month, SIFF is making preparations for a return to Capitol Hill’s shuttered Egyptian Theatre for its 2014 festival. Tuesday, the marquee went back into motion for the first time since last summer.

We also reported that the movie-focused non-profit SIFF has been the only bidder to take over the old theater long-term as Seattle Central searched for a new tenant. Officials wouldn’t confirm a long-term lease but it looks like SIFF, managing director Mary Bacarella, and artistic director Carl Spence are making plans to open a new Cinema Seattle in the Egyptian according to, of all things, a liquor license application for the theater.

The application listing SIFF and the directors’ names is a request for a beer and wine license specifically issued for theaters. It was filed on Monday.

It’s possible — but not likely — Bacarella and Spence are pursuing the license just so festival goers can enjoy beer and wine during the Capitol Hill screenings of the 40th annual Seattle International Film Festival this May. Here’s hoping, instead, the application is another plot device in the Egyptian’s epic tale of loss and triumphant return to glory.

Egyptian will play host to SIFF 2014, but theater remains empty as nonprofit takeover still being evaluated

Nine months after the screen went dark at The Egyptian Theatre, the lights are still out at the at the prominent Capitol Hill cinema space. But CHS has confirmed the 600-seat theater will raise its curtain once again when it plays its part in hosting the 40th annual Seattle International Film Festival this May.

“It’s good to be able to use the Egyptian after being dark for so long,” said SIFF’s Rachel Eggers. “We love having SIFF on Capitol Hill and love being able to connect with the community.”

Eggers said crews will soon begin spiffing up the theater’s interior and putting up some new artwork outside — a welcomed change from the now longstanding “farewell” marquee.

Continue reading

Capitol Hill hosts Seattle Deaf Film Festival

A scene from Lake Windfall, "a portrait of interactions between deaf, hard of hearing, and hearing people" --  in a post-apocalyptic setting.

A scene from Lake Windfall, “a portrait of interactions between deaf, hard of hearing, and hearing people” — in a post-apocalyptic setting.

Capitol Hill’s Northwest Film Forum continues to make a home for festivals involving filmmakers and subject matters of all types. Next week, Seattle Deaf Film Festival brings its three-day roster of 36 productions showcasing the works of the deaf filmmaking community to Capitol Hill for the first time following its 2013 debut. Reels run April 4-6.

“SDFF started from a core group full of signing people who were passionate about cinema and wanted to set up a film festival celebrating its own culture and language,” said Patty Liang, the festival’s director. The festival is powered by community group Deaf Spotlight who plan to launch the weekend with an opening night reception April 4 at Velocity — $10 or free for weekend ticket holders; 8 to 11 PM. The productions being shown at the festival will offer many genres and styles for viewers to pick from and explore.

“The films were made by, and for the Deaf community. We have a wonderful committee who screened all 70 films and narrowed down to 36 films in different genres: animation, comedy/musical, documentary, drama, and suspense/thriller,” she said. The selection of Capitol Hill for the second SDFF was influenced by the community, and Liang hopes to keep it here. Continue reading

‘Business as usual’ at Capitol Hill’s Harvard Exit

(Image: Alex Garland for CHS)

(Image: Alex Garland for CHS)

There’s a faint smattering of applause as Spike Jonze’s name appears on the closing credits following the 7:30 p.m. showing of “Her.”

The lights un-dim and much of the half-full theater rises to its feet. A few people remain seated and chat, while others pass under the decade’s old balcony into the 1920s waiting room with a flickering electric fireplace. An usher bids a simple adieu and the the night is over.

While there is certainly no grand difference in the above-mentioned movie experience compared to most others, catching a flick at Harvard Exit will never be mistaken for stadium seating at a Marcus theater.

If someone asks if you saw Her, the answer will be, “yeah,” “no” or, “yeah, we watched it at Harvard Exit” – the neighborhood’s sole remaining chain theater since The Egyptian closed in June of last year.

“It’s vintage,” said Jeanne Heuving, a Wallingford resident who good-humoredly sat through a pair of echoing phone sex scenes with her mother.

Continue reading

9th annual Children’s Film Festival Seattle returns to Capitol Hill’s Northwest Film Forum

A scene from Horizon Beautiful

A scene from Horizon Beautiful

Capitol Hill moms, dads and friends of little ones know that mid-January means it’s time to get your tickets for the annual Children’s Film Festival Seattle at 12th Ave’s Northwest Film Forum. So, consider this an invitation to Capitol Hill families. You’ll want to get your pancake breakfast tickets early.

Small People. Big Characters.
January 23 – February 2, 2014
We’re just a week away from the ninth year of our international film festival for kids and families, the largest on the West Coast! Visit the official festival website >

Starting next Thursday, you can watch new films for kids ages 3 – 14, from more than 32 countries around the globe — not to mention live music, visiting international artists, filmmaking workshops and plenty of pancakes.

* * *


January 23, Thursday at 7pm

Gorgeous hand-cut silhouette animation from the silent film era tells the (first feature film) story of talking animals and the benevolent doctor who understands what they say. Paired with a world-premiere live musical score from Seattle duo Miles & Karina! Read more >

January 24, Friday at 7pm

Sponsored by Cupcake Royale and Honest Kids
Boogie down to “kindie” rock, eat cupcakes, and bring favorite stuffed animals along to watch beautiful animated films. Read more >

February 1, Saturday at 9:30am

Sponsored by Whole Foods Market and Bill the Butcher
An all-you can eat breakfast (with coffee and bacon) is paired with a dazzling short film selection. Plus, free parking as part of your ticket! Read more >