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.
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
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:
CAPITOL HILL: FEATURING CAST AND CREW Q & A
May 22, 2014 at 8:00 PM
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 Hill “replete with soap opera histrionics and 1970’s-style sitcom hijinks.” You can also follow the series of seven-ish-minute episodes via YouTube.
The 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.
Far 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.
No 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
A scene shoot across the bay in West Seattle (Image: Seattle.gov)
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 ! (www.nothingagainstlife.com) 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- http://www.cinerama.com/ComingSoon.aspx
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.
- 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
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.
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.
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
(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.