Free movie posters at SIFF Film Center this Sunday

SIFF is running over with movie posters, and to make room they’re giving them away! That’s right, you can pick up FREE movie posters at the SIFF Film Center this Sunday – just bring your own bags, poster tubes, rubber bags, and a donation of your choosing (yes, the posters are free, but please help support SIFF when you snag your favorites!).

SIFF doesn’t have a list of title and you can’t reserve a poster in advance, it’s first-come, first choice. However, if you purchase a ticket to the SIFF Oscar Snubs Movie Marathon (some of the titles may bring back crazy-angry memories), you get first selection from 1-2pm. Everyone else has to wait until 2pm, and the poster clearance giveaway lasts til 5pm or posters are gone.

SIFF to reopen Uptown Theater October 20

The Seattle International Film Festival announced Saturday that it will be revitalizing Lower Queen Anne’s historic Uptown Theater, which shuttered its doors back in November after its partent company AMC opted to close the old theater house rather than invest in updates.

SIFF plans to reopen the neighborhood theater in October, as it transitions out of its current location in McCaw Hall, in conjunction with the Grand Opening of its own new SIFF Film Center at Seattle Center. SIFF says the new space will provide the organization with increased seating capacity and three additional screens, which will allow it more flexibility for year-round programming.

When the Uptown Theater closed last fall, many in the community were heartbroken to see the longstanding neighborhood cinema house, originally opened in 1926, fall by the wayside. We reached out to SIFF to see if the organization had any interest or intention of taking over the newly vacated space. At the time SIFF representatives told us they were not in a position to take over the theater.

“It really is unfortunate that Uptown theater is closing. I used to go there many times and even when I was growing up so personally it’s a shame that it is closing,” SIFF representative Tod Steward wrote to Queen Anne View back in November. “Maybe Paul Allen or someone like him would finance it to stay open…just like what he did with Cinerama.”

Fortunately for the Queen Anne community, the tides have changed since last fall. In addition to helping expand its year-round programming, SIFF says the reopening of the theater will give it the opportunity to establish first-class educational programs and solidify the future of the organizations and its programs.

Mayor Mike McGinn came out in support of the deal, stating, “SIFF is one of Seattle’s true treasures not only for the work they do in Film and Education, but for being a leader in our community and saving the Uptown Movie Theatre. The leadership that SIFF is demonstrating should not only be recognized but applauded.”

“On behalf of the Greater Queen Anne Chamber of Commerce, we are especially pleased to endorse the acquisition of the Uptown Theater by the Seattle International Film Festival,” Chamber vice president Ann Pearce said in a statement. “We applaud their actions in preserving a valuable part of Seattle’s Uptown neighborhood and creating more opportunities for Queen Anne community businesses. Another wonderful forum for unique entertainment will now be available for residents and tourists alike to enjoy for years to come!”

“We couldn’t have scripted a better opportunity for our organization than to have SIFF Cinema Uptown and the new SIFF Film Center in such close proximity and located in such a vibrant part of the city. Seattle Center and Queen Anne are the perfect locations for us to expand in and we’re excited to be opening our doors in time for Seattle Center’s ‘Next 50’ celebration next year,” SIFF Artistic Director Carl Spence said.

“We are thrilled to welcome SIFF as a new resident here, and we embrace its move to use the former Uptown Theater space as a SIFF screening venue. What a wonderful means to enlivening the neighborhood and further connecting Seattle Center to the Uptown area,” Seattle Center Director Robert Nellams said.

Seattle International Film Festival opens today

The 37th Seattle International Film Festival will host its Opening Night Gala at McCaw Hall Thursday at 5:30 p.m., beginning the 25-day film extravaganza.

Among the special events, spectacles and movie stars at this year’s festival, Ewan McGregor is set to receive the Golden Space Need Award for Outstanding Achievement in Acting May 22 at the Egyptian Theatre. The event will also feature a screening of his new film “Beginners,” a U.S. comedic drama by director Mike Mills.

Tickets for the Opening Night Gala can be bought here, which include screening of “The First Grader” and Gala party to follow. “The First Grader” is a UK film shot in Kenya by director Justin Chadwick, who previously directed “The Other Boleyn Girl,” about an 84-year-old Kenyan villager trying to get an education. General admission is $50 and includes two complementary drink tickets, while premium admission is $100 and includes open bar at the post-film reception and preferred entry into the Gala screening.

The Centerpiece Gala will be held June 4 and will feature the French film “Service Entrance,” a comedy about a Parisian stockbroker directed by Philippe Le Guay.

The festival concludes June 12 with the Closing Night Gala, featuring the UK documentary “Life in a Day,” a mosaic of thousands of individuals from around the globe in a single day by “The Last King of Scotland” director Kevin Macdonald.

This year the festival will feature 441 films, including 257 features and 184 short films, 96 of which will be premiered at SIFF, representing 74 countries, a record for SIFF.

Special to SIFF this year, the new “Pathway” system will be released aimed at assisting moviegoers in finding the kind of films they’re looking to experience. The SIFF website lists the ten Pathways as:

  • Love Me, Do! –  Romance and love in all its forms, pleasures, and idiosyncrasies.
  • Make Me Laugh – Films that make you chuckle and tickle your funny bone.
  • Thrill Me – Suspense, thrills, and action. Films with a faster pace that might also surprise you when you least expect it.
  • Creative Streak – The exploration of artistic endeavors from all disciplines: literature, film, art, dance, and performance.
  • Open My Eyes – Revealing films and documentaries revolving around history, politics, and contemporary events from around the world.
  • Sci-Fi and Beyond – Science, technology, environment, the future—and beyond.
  • Take Me Away – Be prepared to be taken to another place – from exotic far-off lands to vibrant experiences outside of everyday life.
  • Spellbinding Stories – Mesmerizing dramas and documentaries that explore thought-provoking questions, realities, and topics.
  • To the Extreme – Explore the outer limits with films that go beyond the edge.
  • Face the Music – Films that intersect the world of music on all fronts: from biopics and concert films, to musicals and live events.

Screenings for the films will take place at various venues throughout Seattle, Renton, Everett and Kirkland.

SIFF, the largest and most highly-attended film festival in the United States, will be opening the SIFF Film Center in the Alki Room at Seattle Center this coming fall, “fulfilling its long-standing vision of creating a permanent home where SIFF’s successful film, education, and community outreach programs can thrive,” the organization says on its website.

Find out more about what’s screening at the film festival this year here.