SEATTLE - Mayor Greg Nickels announced today that the Seattle International Film Festival (SIFF) Group will develop a year-round screening facility at Seattle Center, turning part of McCaw Hall into one of the West Coast’s top film venues.
The city will contribute $150,000 toward the $350,000 project, which will transform the Nesholm Family Lecture Hall at Marion Oliver McCaw Hall into a theater with top-of-the-line projection and sound equipment for year-round film exhibition.
The new theater will become the flagship venue for next year’s 33rd Seattle International Film Festival, May 24 through June 17. The theater has the potential to become, in the opinion of film professionals who have toured the facility, the best screening facility in the Northwest and one of the top facilities on the West Coast.
“This is a great move for SIFF and a great addition to Seattle Center,” Nickels said. “We are a city of film buffs, and movies are an important part of our culture and our economy. This flagship theater allows cinema to take its place along side the vibrant mix of music, theater, dance and opera at Seattle Center.”
Work to transform the lecture hall is expected to be complete in January. SIFF Group, which is raising private money to complete the project, plans to begin showing films in the venue shortly thereafter, and will be making a future announcement about upcoming film programming. The room will continue to be available for other events.
SIFF Group produces the annual Seattle International Film Festival, the largest and most highly attended film festival in the United States. Under the leadership of Artistic Director Carl Spence and Managing Director Deborah Person, the 25-day festival presents more than 400 feature films and shorts from more than 60 countries, to an audience of 160,000.
“This is the realization of a long-time dream for SIFF,” Person said. “We are looking forward to joining the other arts and culture constituents at Seattle Center, and offering audiences the best in world cinema. We couldn’t be happier with this partnership between SIFF, Seattle Center and the city of Seattle, and we are enormously grateful to Mayor Nickels and the City Council for their support.”
Robert Nellams, Seattle Center acting director, is pleased to welcome SIFF Group to campus.
“SIFF’s goals fit perfectly with Seattle Center’s future goals,” he said. “The partnership establishes Seattle Center as a hub of the emerging music and film district developing in Lower Queen Anne and Belltown.”
In addition to the annual film festival, SIFF Group curates other year-round programming, including the Global Lens Film series, The Screenwriters Salon, the 1 Reel Film Festival at Bumbershoot (in conjunction with One Reel), FutureWave (K-12 film education and youth outreach programs), SIFF-A-Go-Go festival travel program, the Sci-Fi Shorts Film Festival (in collaboration with the Science Fiction Museum and Hall of Fame) and other film-related events.