Seattle International Film Festival (SIFF) executive director Tom Mara has announced the company’s acquisition of the Seattle Cinerama Theater from the estate of late Microsoft co-founder Paul G. Allen.
Mara revealed the news at the opening night celebration of the 49th annual SIFF on May 11. The festival runs through May 21.
“We are honored to take on stewardship of this historic theater. It’s a film venue adored by the community and speaks to the critical role SIFF plays in bringing the power and art of film to diverse audiences across our region,” Mara said. “So many of us have experienced the magic of this theater, and we are excited to carry on the vision and impact that Paul Allen started so many years ago.”
The theater opened in 1963 before Allen purchased and refurbished the venue in the late 1990s. Since its revamp, the theater has become “an unmatched destination for blockbuster movies, independent film and a variety of film festivals and events.” Amid the pandemic, the Seattle Cinerama Theater was closed.
Per Allen’s wishes, the theater was to be sold with estate profits donated to philanthropy.
“We are so pleased about SIFF’s acquisition of the theater,” said Jody Allen, executor of the Allen Estate. “They are the ideal mission-driven organization to now shepherd this very special place, bring more film and movie lovers to downtown Seattle, and steward the venue and its role in our community for years to come.”
SIFF stands as Seattle’s top film organization, bringing together leading international and independent films to the area with its varying venues.
SIFF will reopen the theater under a new name, becoming the fourth venue run by the nonprofit organization alongside the SIFF Film Center at Seattle Center, SIFF Cinema Uptown and SIFF Cinema Egyptian.
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