Funds, partnership with Cinerama passes King County Council

Aug 16, 2023, 7:37 AM | Updated: 3:58 pm


Seattle's Cinerama will be reopening soon with some new features. Check out the changes. (Cinerama Photo)

(Cinerama Photo)

The King County Council has approved sending another million dollars to the Seattle International Film Festival (SIFF) in an 8-0 vote to help in the renovation of the Cinerama Theater.

This comes after legislation for the City of Seattle to partner with SIFF and support the purchase and operation of the historic Cinerama theater was passed by the City Council Tuesday, August 8.

The legislation, Council Bill 120618, would allow the City of Seattle to provide SIFF a $950,000 grant to help get the iconic theater in the Belltown neighborhood serving moviegoers again.

The city council’s Finance and Housing Committee approved the proposal Aug. 2.

More from Cinerama: Theater may get $2M in public money, will likely reopen with new name

SIFF announced its acquisition of the theater from the estate of the late Paul Allen in May at the opening night screening of its 49th annual event. Allen co-founded Microsoft and owned the NFL’s Seattle Seahawks and NBA’s Portland Trail Blazers.

The historic theater opened in 1963 and closed to the public in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic. SIFF plans to reopen it later this year. The theater will have to be renamed due to trademark licensing.

“I am grateful to my colleagues for their support in advancing this critical investment to re-open the Cinerama and activate our Downtown,” Councilmember Andrew Lewis said in a press release last week. “The public benefits unlocked by this proposal will further strengthen our reputation as a center of film culture.”

Lewis also sponsored the bill.

There is a public benefits package element to the grant that may include job creation and workforce development to support the City’s film industry, which was approved unanimously. The Seattle Office of Arts and Culture will be required as part of the purchase to provide workers a living wages and jobs to have labor harmony agreements.

The legislation will use money from the admission tax revenue that came in higher than projected. The grant will be taken from the Arts and Culture Fund.

More on Seattle’s film scene: City takes big step in hopes of luring more film, TV productions

The King County Council is considering matching the grant from the city, as they work out an agreement over the public benefits package between King County and the Seattle Film Commission.

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Funds, partnership with Cinerama passes King County Council