Summer in the City

Inspired by David Schmader’s recently published Filmlandia!: A Movie Lover’s Guide to the Films and Television of Seattle, Portland, and the Great Northwest, we present a few of our favorites to be filmed in and around our fair Emerald City.


Howard Avedis · 1976
99min · digital
  • Friday, Jul 7, 2023, 9:30pm
  • Saturday, Jul 8, 2023, 9:30pm


Kicking off our Summer in the City film series, we present local gem SCORCHY uncut and restored. Lauded as “one of the oddest 1970s cop films in its incongruous mix of the campy and the grim,” Jackie Parker (Connie Stevens) is a Seattle narc working deep undercover as a jet-setter who will stop at nothing to break up a violent drug-smuggling ring ruled by the sinister Philip Bianco (Cesare Danova). With repeated double crossings, topless romps, bloody squibs and even some coitus interruptus involving a spear gun, SCORCHY delivers the goods with equal parts action and sexploitation.

“…it all culminates in the greatest Seattle chase scene yet to hit celluloid, wherein our heroine leads a pursuer on a multi-vehicle chase that goes on so long and covers so much territory that you will be howling at the screen halfway through.” David Schmader, Filmlandia


Sidney J. Furie · 1973
135min · digital
  • Friday, Jul 28, 2023, 9:15pm
  • Saturday, Jul 29, 2023, 9:15pm
  • Sunday, Jul 30, 2023, 8:00pm


Billy Dee Williams. Richard Pryor. They’ve got the drug lords in their sights.

Our Summer in the City series continues with this underseen gem from the ’70s, in which U.S. federal agent Nick Allen goes rogue after his daughter dies of a heroin overdose. Determined to destroy the drug ring that supplied her, he finds himself prevented by bureaucratic red tape from legally going after the dealers, so he organizes his own clandestine operation, comprised of tough-as-nails strangers whose lives have also been torn apart by the drug trade and trains them into a fit fighting force. The group travels to France, where the heads of the drug syndicate control operations, and Nick unleashes his savage revenge.

“It’s a terrific conceit, allowing rich backstories—two of the drafted assassins are an old married couple still furious over their daughter’s addiction and deadly overdose and still guilty over how they handled what they now see was an illness. (The movie has a sweet empathy-for-junkies moral.)… Besides Seattle, Hit! also features scenes shot in Gig Harbor and Port Hadlock, Washington.” David Schmader, Filmlandia

Class of 1999

Mark L. Lester · 1990
99min · digital
  • Friday, Aug 4, 2023, 9:30pm
  • Saturday, Aug 5, 2023, 9:30pm


The third entry in our Summer in the City film series is set in a future time where the youth gang violence is so high that the areas around some schools have become “free-fire zones”, into which not even the police will venture. When Miles Langford (Malcolm McDowell), the head of Kennedy High School, decides to take his school back from the gangs, robotics specialist Dr. Robert Forrest (Stacey Keach) provides “tactical education units”. These are amazingly human-like androids that have been programmed to teach and are supplied with devastatingly effective solutions to discipline problems. So when the violent, out-of-control students of Kennedy High report for class tomorrow, they’re going to get a real education… in staying alive!

“This rollickingly trashy flick concerns a Seattle high school so overrun with violent crime that human teachers are replaced with repurposed military cyborgs, one of whom looks exactly like Pam Grier and who’s not above stabbing recalcitrant students with her high heels. Clearly, it’s awesome, with the fictional Kennedy High School set at Seattle’s Lincoln High School and a crucial scene in which the killer robot teachers emerge spookily from the waters of Puget Sound.” David Schmader, Filmlandia

Shredder Orpheus in 35mm

Robert McGinley · 1990
90min · 35mm
  • Friday, Aug 25, 2023, 9:00pm
  • Saturday, Aug 26, 2023, 8:30pm
  • Sunday, Aug 27, 2023, 5:30pm


The Greek myth is reimagined as a post-apocalyptic skateboard rock opera in the fourth entry of our Summer in the City film series, SHREDDER ORPHEUS — a low-budget hallucination that drops somewhere between the music video for Devo’s “Whip It,” a Bones Brigade skate tape, and a surrealist art project. The story follows Orpheus (played by writer/director Robert McGinley), a rock star who descends into hell in order to save his kidnapped wife (and the universe) from Satan and his hypnotic TV signals.

The screening on Saturday, August 26th will be followed by a live, in-person Q&A with Robert McGinley!

“Rejected by the Seattle International Film Festival at the time of its release and celebrated with arthouse screenings and an official soundtrack release a decade and a half later, Shredder Orpheus is the independent-as-f*ck retelling of the Orpheus myth set in a post-apocalyptic wasteland created out of stolen locations and shipping containers, narrated by punk poet Steven ‘Jesse’ Bernstein, with a soundtrack composed by Roland Barker.” David Schmader, Filmlandia

Fantasy A Gets a Mattress

Noah Zoltan Sofian, David Norman Lewis · 2023
79min · DCP
  • Saturday, Jul 6, 2024, 8:30pm

We all know that summer in Seattle doesn’t officially start until right after the 4th of July, so kick off your Seattle summer right with local movie sensation FANTASY A GETS A MATTRESS as it makes its return to the Grand Illusion Cinema.

Fantasy A, real-life autistic Seattle rapper, suffers trials and tribulations from total creeps as he attempts to become a superstar. After being kicked out of his group home onto the grim summer streets, Fantasy A sets off on an odyssey to achieve fame and find a good mattress to sleep on in this ensemble comedy filmed entirely on location in Seattle.

The legend himself, Fantasy A, will be present to introduce the screening, and he and the filmmakers will also take part in a post-show Q&A!

FANTASY A GETS A MATTRESS captures Seattle like no other movie before it. With its bright, vivid colors and glorious cinematography, you can practically feel the city’s summer sun simmering from the screen.

“…a truly original Seattle story overflowing with homegrown creativity and humor… the history of Seattle film has a new chapter that, while still being written, begins and ends with Fantasy A.” Chase Hutchinson, The Seattle Times


Mikiech Nichols · 2022
121min · DCP
  • Tuesday, Sep 19, 2023, 7:30pm
  • Wednesday, Sep 20, 2023, 7:30pm
  • Thursday, Sep 21, 2023, 8:00pm

In this dialogue-driven, “second coming of age” comedic drama, Felix has all but given up on his pursuit of becoming a filmmaker when he meets Stella, a down-to-Earth, chain-smoking cinephile, whose unexpected friendship inspires him to start writing again–and to fall for her. Never hesitating to take steps outside of reality through the use of movies within movies, found footage and action sequences, MOUNTAINSIDE is also a love letter to film itself.

Writer/director (and long-time Grand Illusion projectionist) Mikiech Nichols will be present for post-show Q&As all three nights!

Our Summer in the City series comes to a close with this beautifully shot and wonderfully acted movie, filmed in various locations throughout Seattle, including Scarecrow Video and the Grand Illusion Cinema itself! – plus a particularly memorable sequence shot inside the Seattle Aquarium.

Official selection of the 2022 Local Sightings Film Festival.

Winner of Best Northwest Feature at the 2023 Spokane International Film Festival!