When the Uptown Theatre shut down last October, the credits rolled on an era in the heart of Lower Queen Anne. But while moviegoers were saying their farewells, the film buffs at SIFF Cinema were making plans for a sequel.
Last month SIFF Cinema—the year-round programming arm of the Seattle International Film Festival—announced it would take over the Uptown lease, moving in October from its current single-screen home at Seattle Center’s McCaw Hall to the century-old three-screen theatre on Queen Anne Avenue. The move will give SIFF Cinema more seats and screens—which means more flexibility.
“Operating the Uptown not only helps keep a historic movie house in business, it also gives us more capacity to show the films we would like to champion and guarantees three screens in one location for SIFF to utilize during the annual festival,” says SIFF artistic director Carl Spence. “That’s something we haven’t had in the past.”
But first, there’s a lot of work to do. As it prepares to open the SIFF Film Center, a new educational facility at Seattle Center, SIFF will be making cosmetic repairs to the Uptown and moving its state-of-the-art 35mm, digital projection and sound equipment. With its educational mission served at the Center, SIFF looks to make entertainment the focus in its new programming home. They’re considering making one of the screens 3D ready, and might introduce upscale concessions, including alcohol sales. The result will be something Seattle has never seen: a full-service entertainment multiplex devoted to independent experimental and classic film.