Welcome Back, Egyptian Theater! | KUOW News and Information

Welcome Back, Egyptian Theater!

Oct 2, 2014

Seattle cinephiles were shocked and saddened when the venerable Egyptian Theater shut its doors in 2013.

Built as a Masonic Temple in 1915, the historic building on Pine and Broadway was transformed into a movie house in 1980.

The Seattle International Film Festival ran the theater for almost a decade until the commercial Landmark Theater chain took over operations. Even after that management transition, the Egyptian was the hub of SIFF's annual spring festival.

The Egyptian was a mecca for independent and art house cinema lovers. Filmmakers as diverse as Ang Lee and Fons Rademakers spoke to audiences from its proscenium. Raucous audiences danced on the seats during late night screenings of "Stop Making Sense" and "Rocky Horror Picture Show."

When Landmark and the building owners, Seattle Central Community College, announced they could not reach agreement on a new lease, it looked like that might be the end of the cinematic road for the venerable Egyptian.

But earlier this year, SIFF co-directors Mary Baccarella and Carl Spence announced that the nonprofit organization had taken over the Egyptian's lease. SIFF has invested time and money upgrading the old theater's projectors and sound system. They've even refreshed the gold paint on the Egyptian-themed murals in the lobby.

Now the Egyptian reopens with a three-day community celebration of the old building and the movies it premiered in Seattle.

The theater will screen such indie classics as "Amelie" and "Priscilla Queen of the Desert" October 3-5. 

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