Seattle International Film Festival is King for Indie Film Fans
A true indie film cinephile would rather lose an eye than
miss the Seattle International Film Festival. The largest and most thorough
independent film festival in North America, this event is in a class by itself.
While most of the other festivals for independent films cater to independent
filmmakers or the film industry itself, this festival is designed with indie
film fans in mind.
The Seattle International Film Festival was started back in
nineteen seventy six by Dan Ireland and Darryl Macdonald when they founded the
Egyptian Theater in a former Masonic Temple. The building was originally
constructed in nineteen fifteen by the Freemasons. This single screen vintage theater with a
balcony section is a favorite amongst movie buffs for its classic look and
spacious design. It is an old theater, which is a good thing as far as movie
historians are concerned. While it may be old it is well maintained. The
bathrooms are always clean and the concession stand is first class.
The Egyptian Theater located on Capitol Hill in Seattle is
only one of many venues that the Seattle International Film Festival uses to
screen their independent films during their annual festival. They started with
one venue in nineteen seventy six. However,
due to the rapidly growing popularity of the event they now use about seven
different venues each year to screen their movies.
Another historic venue SIFF uses is the historic Uptown
Theater. It was added to the list of places when SIFF officials acquired it in
two thousand and eleven. This historic movie theater was designed by Victor W.
Voorhees, one of the busiest architects in Seattle at the beginning of the
The Uptown Theater is a significant addition to the SIFF
collection of screening venues. It was originally opened on May twenty six,
nineteen twenty six and closed on November twenty eight of two thousand and
eleven. SIFF reopened it a few months
later. This iconic theater in the Queen Anne neighborhood is a favorite amongst
movie theater historians and devoted indie film fans.
The cinephiles that attend SIFF cherish
this theater for its simple yet classic art house style and the long history of
classic movie screenings that have taken place there over the past eighty six
Seattle International Film Festival officials spent one
hundred and fifty thousand dollars on the renovation of the Uptown Theater.
This face lift included additional seats and three more screens to
accommodate more indie film fans and their appetite for watching indie films.
In addition to acquiring the Uptown Theater for their
festival SIFF also recently created the SIFF Film Center in the Seattle Center.
This new headquarters for the Seattle International Film Festival will not only
accommodate screenings of independent films during their annual festival, it
will also have select screenings year round. No other film festival in North
America shows indie films all year long. For true independent film buffs living
in Seattle the SIFF Film Center is like a gift from heaven. They can get their
indie film fix year round without having to travel all over the country to
attend other film festivals.
It may not be the oldest independent film festival in North
America but there are no others that compare to SIFF when it comes to size.
Everything about the Seattle International Film Festival is big. For example,
about four hundred films on the average are screened each year at this event.
In two thousand and eleven there were four hundred and fifty screened,
with two hundred and fifty seven feature films alone.
By comparison, the Telluride Film Festival only screened twenty four
features that same year at their event.
Not only is the Seattle International Film Festival big,
but it is also very long. Lasting twenty five days, it is four to six times
longer than any of the other independent film festivals of its kind. All of the
other festivals last only about four to seven days. Some consider SIFF to be too
long and too big, but for true indie film fanatics it is just perfect. The size
and scope of SIFF gives them plenty of movies to choose from and plenty of time
to see them.
More people attend SIFF than any other film festival in
North America. In two thousand and eleven over one hundred and fifty thousand
people attended the Seattle International Film Festival.
Sundance had only forty five thousand in
attendance that year.
There are dozens of independent film festivals that take
place each year in North America, but none compare to the Seattle International
Film Festival in terms of its size and devotion to indie film fans. This is not
a festival designed for Hollywood executives to preview their upcoming films. It
is not an event that is held each year just for the sake of making money, nor is
it held for the purpose of luring big stars to their town. It is purely and
simply and event that celebrates the art of independent film on a large scale,
with indie film fans in mind.
Michael P. Connelly
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