'It’s a dream come true'; Unsure of future, Seattle cinema maintains platform for filmmakers

Despite facing an uncertain future, the Grand Illusion Cinema in Seattle’s University District still continues to provide local and independent artists a platform.

In an unassuming building at the corner of 50th and University Way in Seattle, sits a single theater cinema that has been operating for more than 50 years.

The Grand Illusion Cinema prides itself on playing films that are hard to come by at other local theaters.

"It’s a dream come true. That’s really it. It is a total dream come true. It’s totally surreal, and I’m still processing it," said Mikiech Nichols.

Nichols is the creator of ‘Mountainside,’ a coming of age comedy-drama. Over the last 10 years he worked to write, shoot and edit the film.

He says shooting alone took three years. From 2017 to 2020, he and his crew spent nights and weekends away from their day jobs to shoot the movie.

This week, his film is showing to sold-out crowds at the Grand Illusion Cinema.

Nichols says the film is, in part, a love letter to the city.

"At the time we started making the movie, we had locations in mind, some of them that before we got to film them, they were gone," said Nichols.

The locations live on in his film. But now, the Grand Illusion Cinema is facing a similar fate.

"For me, it was kind of a no-brainer, like I had to film here, and I’m really, really happy I was able to get it on camera, you know, before it does go away," he said.

This year, the Grand Illusion Cinema found out its building is up for sale. Volunteer organizers with the nonprofit movie theater say they are uncertain what the future holds, but know the show will go on.

"The Grand illusion has been here for so long that it is just such a bastion of film, and such a big part of the Seattle film community," said Trevor Brandt, programmer for the Grand Illusion Cinema. "We’re guaranteed going to keep going and keep the Grand Illusion alive somewhere else when that times comes."

Nichols' movie 'Mountainside' is playing at 8 p.m. at the Grand Illusion Cinema. It is a part of the theater's ‘Summer in the City’ series which featured movies shot around Seattle.

Local movie 'FANTASY A Gets a Mattress' is also playing alongside Nichols film.

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Mountainside is also slated to play at the Tacoma Film Festival.

For more info on Mountainside, click here.