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

In big week for Capitol Hill film, Local Sightings festival returns for 17th year

With scenes from across Capitol Hill, Local Sightings film Nothing Against Life explores depression and suicide

With scenes from across Capitol Hill, Local Sightings film Nothing Against Life explores depression and suicide

Courtney Sheehan is at the helm for the 17th annual Local Sightings film festival (Image: NWFF/Sarah Styles)

Courtney Sheehan is at the helm for the 17th annual Local Sightings film festival (Image: NWFF/Sarah Styles)

Regional filmmakers will again flock to Capitol Hill as the Northwest Film Forum opens the Local Sightings Film Festival Thursday night.

“It’s definitely one of the tentpoles of the year,” program manager Courtney Sheehan said. “I’m super excited. I’m really excited about the many different things we will have.”

The event features a host of local screenings, expansive classes and an extended Seattle Film Summit, which aims to bring together filmmakers in the Seattle industry into a forum of open discussion about the state of making movies in the Pacific Northwest. Continue reading

Sorting out the drama — and the comedy, cult and action — at On 15th Video

(Image: CHS)

(Image: CHS)

In the week since we learned about the closure of On 15th Videothe last video store on Capitol Hill — CHS still hasn’t learned what led to closing down the more than 25-year-old business but we have learned more about the man who owned the store, his family’s video business history, and, maybe most importantly, the people in the community who loved stopping by to visit a good, old-fashioned video store.

“It’s really been a valued community asset,” Capitol Hill Housing property manager Billie Abers tells CHS. “I’ve reached out to Lyle.”

“It was shorter notice than we normally like.”

Lyle is On 15th’s owner Lyle Holmes. CHS has attempted to contact Holmes about the closure but have not heard back from him so far.

Customers of the shop have also been left in the lurch with rented movies still in their possession and, for some, questions about just-paid membership fees. But, for most, the writing was on the wall.

“Video stores that you walk into really aren’t the best business any more,” Capitol Hill Housing’s Abers tactfully put it. Others might wonder why Holmes didn’t close the store sooner.

Others, meanwhile, are getting together to mourn the loss and visit with the store’s mostly blindsided staff. Here’s an invite passed along to CHS:

Fans of “On 15th Video” have reserved the back room at the Liberty Tavern this Saturday, September 20, from 4:30 to 7:30 to celebrate the community the store created and thank the staff.  If you’re one of the many people who will miss “On 15th Video”, stop in to say hello, say thank you, say goodbye, or just talk about movies.

UPDATE: We’ve heard from one employee who says the Saturday gathering was news to him. Sorry! We should have included information from the organizer who told us he had been able to reach one employee but was reaching out through CHS in hopes of reaching more. You should go. Somebody will buy you a beer! UPDATE x2  9/20/2014 10:53 AM: We just got a message that Saturday’s gathering is canceled.

tumblr_naxfvlOVzE1s7gjzzo1_500According to people familiar with the situation, Holmes acquired On 15th Video from his mother. The family had owned the store since the ’90s and also owned other shops in Seattle. In 1998, their company Director’s Ltd. attempted to purchase Scarecrow Video but the store’s founders tried to scuttle the deal after learning about Holmes’s background. Continue reading

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!

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:

CAPITOL HILL: FEATURING CAST AND CREW Q & A
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.

IMG_1842

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