Seattle Film Fest rescues two venerable theatres

News

The Seattle International Film Festival (SIFF) announced that it has purchased the SIFF Cinema Uptown and signed a lease for the Egyptian Theatre, securing these two neighborhood landmarks as year-round SIFF venues.

The Uptown Theatre in lower Queen Anne—which opened as a silent-movie house in 1926—had been shuttered since winter 2010. SIFF reopened the theatre as the SIFF Cinema Uptown with a special premiere screening of The Artist and began programming it 365 days a year. SIFF has now purchased the building for good, with the help of philanthropists David and Linda Cornfield.

Originally built as a Masonic Temple in 1915, the Egyptian was converted into an art house by SIFF in 1980. SIFF sold the lease to Landmark Theatres in 1989 in order to fund the organization's transition to a nonprofit arts organization and has rented the venue for the Seattle International Film Festival every year since. When it closed its doors in 2013, SIFF made a bid on the space to ensure that it would be available for use during future festivals. SIFF has been working closely with Seattle Central Community College—the theatre's owner—to ensure that the Egyptian remains an important gathering place for the Capitol Hill community. SIFF recently launched a fundraising campaign to take the venue to the next level and ensure its long-term viability.