I was honored today to attend The Harvard Exits, which was a goodbye to its namesake, The Harvard Exit. As a cultural icon of Seattle, and an institution in the showing of amazing films, the city is losing a huge piece of its identity in its closing. Northwest Film Forum hosted the event, where we heard from a panel of local industry leaders about the misfortune of The Harvard Exit and where the film industry is headed as a whole. The Ghost of the Harvard Exit oversaw the engagement, and its following series of intimate speeches by film workers and enthusiasts who were touched by its existence.
What was especially touching, to me, was the community built around the theater and the commonality of all having a story about a film, a celebrity, or a chance encounter there. One of the things that made Nashville feel like home to me, before I came here, was this little grindhouse called Cult Fiction Underground, that welcomed me in like family. Much like The Harvard Exit, their original building was sold and their lease dropped. Luckily, it has found a new location and is in the process of reopening. However, knowing that places like Cult Fiction Underground exist everywhere- as a location that draws in like minds and those with a passion for the moving picture- is comforting, yet disconcerting in their declining numbers.
Despite The Harvard Exit closing, the community of filmmakers and film connoisseurs are a loud-spoken and resilient group. So, today we said goodbye to a legend, but I am sure that those film buffs will keep the tradition going strong.