However, this exception applies only to Scarecrow, which sponsored one film in each festival in recent years, giving Cinema Seattle $1,000 and access to the store's video library and resources such as PAL video players. Other local video stores which have bought ads in the festival program in the past, including the independent alliance Seattle's Best Video Stores, which includes Rain City Video, Video Isle, Island Video, and Reckless Video, are still barred from sponsoring individual movies or the festival, though they could continue to buy advertising.
Island Video owner Tom Hastings thought the coalition had been a sponsor, as they'd given the festival $2,000 to buy program ads in 1997, and planned to offer Cinema Seattle between seven and ten thousand dollars this year. (Organizational lapses by both parties resulted in Seattle's Best missing the 1998 fest.) The stores will not buy ads in SIFF's program this year, and won't promote the festival, as they had in past years, with in-store displays or other promotions.
"We've been fucked over," said Hastings. He claims that Scarecrow has sold out Seattle's other independent video stores, and insists that the compromise worked out by Cinema Seattle, Blockbuster, and Scarecrow is a bad one. "The independents have been screwed over here. Scarecrow should have more pride than that." As for Cinema Seattle, "It's unbelievably shortsighted to cut off their local roots and align themselves with the single most detested video store of your average SIFF fan."