Wednesday, August 4, 2021

2021 Sidewalk Film Festival announces Feature Film Lineup (August 23-29)


Jeff Daniels’ Television Event is the Opening Night selection and Jim Cummings and PJ McCabe’s The Beta Testis the Closing Night Choice

Birmingham, AL (August 3, 2021) – Sidewalk Film Festival announced their opening and closing night selections, special presentations and features for the 23rd edition of the popular and nationally-acclaimed Birmingham-based film festival which will take place August 23-29. Celebrating their highly anticipated return to theaters and presentation of the unique and special film events Sidewalk is famous for, the film festival announced nightly themed spotlights culminating in a big weekend for Sidewalk film fans. This year’s Opening Night screening will be Jeff Daniels’ Television Event, and Jim Cummings and PJ McCabe’s The Beta Test will be the Closing Night screening.

 Other special events top lining a film festival noted for creatively going beyond the screening of the films to make a greater interactive experience for film fans will be special roundtables and panels built around timely classics, beloved films, and anniversary screenings like Steven Soderbergh’s Contagion, John Heyn and Jeff Krulik’s Heavy Metal Parking Lot, and Ridley Scott’s Thelma & Louise.

Sidewalk will put more emphasis on music as it screens Chris Columbus’ beloved Mrs. Doubtfire accompanied by a live performance of the film’s score by DJ Hollywood, offer up a Rock n’ Roll Double Feature powered by Mike Plante and Jason Willis’ We Were There to Be There and John Heyn and Jeff Krulik’s Blondie: Vivir En La Habana, and present three very different secret screenings for audiences’ delight. 

Sidewalk Film Festival Creative Director and Lead Programmer, Rachel Morgan, said, “We are beyond excited to be back downtown for Sidewalk 2021! We believe that we've crafted a balanced line-up filled with the best, recent, theatre-worthy indie films spanning all genres, along with the occasional throwback and special event. It's been quite a couple of years and we think the 23rd annual Sidewalk schedule reflects such in a variety of ways - from provoking thought to celebrating humanity to providing an opportunity for shared commiseration. As always we also have a lot of surprises planned, after all, everyone is overdue for a super fun week (with safety in mind, of course); we hope you're as excited as we are!” 

The themed showcase evenings will begin on Monday with an Alabama Spotlight highlighted by a special program of short films shot and produced in the state or with Alabama as a central theme and focus. Tuesday will be the Life & Liberty Spotlight exemplified by CJ Hunt’s documentary The Neutral Ground which looks at New Orleans’ fight over Confederate monuments and America’s centuries-long relationship with the Lost Cause. Wednesday will shine the Spotlight on Shout, Sidewalk FF’s acclaimed LGBTQ showcase, which will feature a number of shorts including Anna Andersen and Gabriella Canal’s No Man’s Land about a lesbian separatist community in Mentone, Alabama. Thursday puts the focus on the Black Lens Spotlight, including Danny Lyon’s SNCC. In the film, Lyon utilizes his own photos taken in the 60s to look at SNCC, one of the most effective grassroots organizations in American history. Through those photos, audio recordings of the songs and music that drove the movement, and interviews with some of SNCC leaders, he tracks the success of the organization in its fight against Jim Crow.

 Following the themed showcase evenings ramping up to the weekend, the official Opening Night selection on Friday, August 27 will be Jeff Daniels’ documentary Television Event. The film looks at the build up to ABC’s broadcast of The Day After, a made-for-TV movie about the aftermath of a nuclear war on a small Kansas town. The film was watched by more than 100 million viewers, which made it the highest-rated made-for-TV film in history. The landmark cultural event came about following weeks of buildup and controversy extending all the way to a White House in the midst of a nuclear arms race with the Soviet Union. 

Jim Cummings and PJ McCabe’s The Beta Test will be the Closing Night screening. The horror-comedy follows a married Hollywood agent, who participates in an anonymous sexual encounter after receiving a purple envelope from an unknown person. The encounter leads him down a rabbit hole filled with lies, cheating, and…death at the hands of boyfriends, girlfriends, and spouses who have been cheated on.

Highlights among the additional narrative films include three films which will thrill and unnerve audiences in the best way possible. Among them are; Lee Haven Jones’s The Feast about a young Welsh woman serving an elaborate meal to a group of privileged people who don't yet know that this will actually be their last supper; Pascuel Sisto’s thriller John and the Hole which follows a boy who drugs his family and holds them captive in a hole in the ground; Quentin Dupieux’s Mandibles about two not-so-bright buddies who discover a giant fly in the trunk of a stolen car and decide it’s the key for them to make their fortune; and Sean King O'Grady We Need to Do Something, where two young women, after becoming trapped with family members while seeking shelter from a storm realize they just might be the cause of the horrors that threaten to tear the entire world apart.

Additional films not to be missed among the documentaries include two must-sees for cinephiles. Eddie Martin’s The Kids delves into Larry Clark’s notorious indie cult classic Kids and what happened to the cast after the film blew up in the 90s, and Gregory Monro’s Kubrick by Kubrick features a treasure trove of unearthed, previously unheard interview recordings from the directing icon himself conducted over the course of 20 years. Current events, hot button socio-political issues are also on the docket with films like Shannon Post and Evan Mascagni’s Building a Bridge, which follows a priest on his journey to make the Catholic Church more accepting of the LGBTQ+ community, despite loud opposition from both inside and outside the Church. The film is executive produced by Martin Scorsese. Leah Galant’s On the Divide follows three Latinx people in McAllen, Texas who are connected by the last abortion clinic on the U.S./Mexico border. In a time when the free press is under constant attack comes Beth Levison and Jerry Risius’ Storm Lake which focuses on Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Art Cullen and his family fight to unite and inform their rural Iowan farming community through their biweekly newspaper, The Storm Lake Times - even as the paper hangs on by a thread.

 Tickets are now on sale and additional information can be found at

2021 Sidewalk Film Festival Special Presentations and Feature Films:


Television Event

Directed by Jeff Daniels

Country: US/Australia, Running Time: 90 min

On November 20th 1983, in the midst of a nuclear arms race with the Soviet Union, the made-for-TV movie "The Day After" aired on network television, landing in more than 39 million households (almost half the country!) across the U.S. Directed by Nicholas Meyer, The Day After is a fictional account of nuclear aftermath in a small Kansas town. With little context regarding the "how" or "why," the film focused on the horrific outcome and scared the hell out of the vast majority of the country. So much so that (rumor has it) Ronald Reagan changed his policy on nuclear armament after viewing the film. Television Event recounts the story of the improbable anti-nuclear television film, its making and its cultural and political impact, the individuals involved in the film's production and the town in which it was made. So Sidewalk opening night's selection is a film about a film about nuclear war? Yep. After the last 18 months the Sidewalk programming team felt that a film about a shared cultural event, one that united the country and changed national policy, was apropos for Sidewalk's opening night return to downtown Birmingham. Plus, Television Event is packed with nostalgia and oddity and even some humor. Join us on opening night for a shared cultural event about a shared cultural event and a reminder that we've lived through scary-as-hell dark times before and made it out the other side. - Rachel Morgan



The Beta Test

Directed by Jim Cummings, PJ McCabe

Country: US, Running Time: 93 min

The Beta Test is the 23rd annual Sidewalk Closing Night film! After all, we love a mean-spirited satirical dark-as-heck comedy...and Virginia Newcomb. Plus, we're also pretty fond of writer-director-actor-extraordinaire Jim Cummings. What happens when a happily (?) married, ladder-climbing Hollywood agent receives a mysterious letter containing a proposition for an anonymous sexual encounter with an "admirer"? Things get super out of hand. Packed with murder, mystery, horror tropes, hackers, Weinstein references, neurotic humor and compulsive teeth whiting, The Beta Test is strange, funny, occasionally borderline-surreal and wholly original. - Rachel Morgan



 3 Ninjas (1992)         

Directed by Jon Turteltaub    

Country: US; Running Time: 85 min  

Young siblings Rocky, Colt and Tum Tum Douglas arrive for their summer stay with their Ninjutsu master grandpa, who has passed down his vast knowledge of martial arts. But they're accosted by the criminal Snyder, a rogue ex-student of Grandpa's who kidnaps the boys as part of a scheme to get to their FBI agent dad, Sam. But Snyder doesn't know just how skilled his abductees are!


Contagion (2011): Fact or Fiction Roundtable   

Directed by Steven Soderbergh        

Country: US; Running Time: 140 min

Medical experts, government officials and everyday people find themselves in the midst of a pandemic as the CDC works to find a cure. The screening of Contagion will be followed by a roundtable discussion featuring a panel of healthcare professionals regarding factual and fictional elements of the renowned 2011 feature film.


The French (1982)   

Directed by William Klein        

Country: France; Running Time: 95 min       

The ultimate behind-the-scenes look at the 1981 French Open - a crucial moment in a crucial year in the history of a game, and its iconic players Björn Borg, John McEnroe, Chris Evert, Yannick Noah, and Ivan Lendl. “For me, this film encapsulates everything I loved and love about the tennis of that moment; and in the hands of the great and singular William Klein, it is at once a gripping sports page, a fascinating piece of reportage, and a work of art.” —Wes Anderson


Great Muppet Caper (1981)

Directed by Jim Henson        

Country: US; Running Time: 97 min  

40th Anniversary Screening! It’s the crime of the century and investigative reporters Kermit, Fozzie and Gonzo are out to crack the case in this song-filled, star-studded extravaganza directed by legendary Jim Henson. Our heroes arrive in London to interview Lady Holiday whose priceless diamond necklace has just been stolen. Her scheming brother is wooing Miss Piggy so he can frame her for the jewel heist and it’s up to Kermit and his pals to clear Piggy’s name and catch the real culprits.


Heavy Metal Parking Lot (1986) & Friends           

Directed by John Heyn and Jeff Krulik          

Country: US; Running Time: 16 min  

In the summer of 1986 John Heyn and Jeff Krulik filmed Judas Priest fans in a concert arena parking lot in suburban Maryland. Thirty-five years later, Heavy Metal Parking Lot is hailed as one the greatest short rock documentaries ever. Join us for this anniversary screening. “Heavy Metal Parking Lot” will be followed by a ton of surprises! 


Mrs. Doubtfire (1993) Live Score   

Directed by Chris Columbus 

Country: US; Running Time: 125 min

After a bitter divorce, an actor disguises himself as a female housekeeper to spend time with his children held in custody by his former wife. An alternate soundtrack to the classic 1993 film Mrs. Doubtfire will be performed live by the one and only DJ Hollywood. The movie will be captioned along with the live score. 


Saturday Morning Cartoons                      

Country: US; Running Time: 100 min

For the ninth year in a row, Sidewalk programmers have compiled an awesome selection of 1980s and ’90s cartoons and vintage commercials for the start of your Sidewalk weekend. To accompany the fun-packed screening there will be a free cereal bar. So launch into your 2021 festival weekend the right way, by loading up on carbs, crazy cartoon antics and good company. Fun for all ages!


Sidewalk Film Festival’s Super Secret Screenings

Secret Screening – Award-winning Filmmaker               

Country: US; Running Time: 100 min

Join us for a very super secret screening of an unannounced film. What we can tell you: The film is a yet-to-be-released documentary from multi-time Sundance and Sidewalk winner. The filmmaker will be in attendance. 


Secret Screening – Alabama Special                    

Country: US; Running Time: 100 min

Join us for a very super secret screening of an unannounced film. What we can tell you: The film is a feature narrative produced in Alabama. The filmmakers will be in attendance. Content is not appropriate for children. 


Sunday Secret Screening – Movies for Grown Ups Edition                  

Country: US; Running Time: 91 min  

Join us for a very super secret screening of an unannounced film. What we can tell you: This film is not appropriate for anyone younger than 18 and there is a strong content warning. 


Sidewalk Film Festival’s Rock n’ Roll Double Feature

We Were There to Be There

Directed by Mike Plante and Jason Willis      

Country: US; Running Time: 27 min  

Taking place in 1978 as cuts to crucial social services loom, two legendary punk bands come together to perform a show for patients and staff at a psychiatric facility. Captured on tape by seminal video art collective Target Video.


Blondie: Vivir En La Habana

Directed by John Heyn and Jeff Krulik          

Country: US, Cuba; Running Time: 60 min   

In 2019, the legendary American rock band Blondie performed for the first time in Havana, Cuba as part of a cultural exchange through the Cuban Ministry of Culture.


Sidewalk ScreenTalks Podcast Live                     

Running Time: 80 min

Join Rachel and Corey and the rest of the Sidewalk SideTalks crew for a super special live recording of the film-centric SideTalks podcast. Plenty of surprises in store! Check out the podcast via your favorite podcast provider — visit for more information. 


The Target Shoots First (2000)      

Directed by Christopher Wilcha         

Country: US; Running Time: 70 min  

After graduating with a philosophy degree, the last thing Christopher Wilcha expected was to land a job at a corporate music retail company (due to his “alternative music sensibilities”). He works his way up the corporate ladder, along the way dutifully documenting almost everything — from office parties to business meetings. The Target Shoots First screened at the 2000 Sidewalk Moving Picture Festival, and we’re honored to have the film return for a 21-year encore.


Thelma & Louise (1991) With Roundtable           

Directed by Ridley Scott        

Country: US; Running Time: 130 min

Thelma and best friend Louise set out on a short fishing trip. However, the vacation becomes a flight from the law when Louise shoots and kills a man who attempts to rape Thelma in a bar. This 30th anniversary screening of Thelma & Louise will be followed by a roundtable discussion with feminist scholars. 


 7 Days

Directed by Roshan Sethi      

Country: US; Running Time: 86 min  

As if the pre-arranged date organized by their traditional Indian parents wasn't uncomfortable enough, Ravi and Rita are forced to shelter in place together as COVID-19's reach intensifies.


Acts of Love 

Directed by Isidore Bethel, Francis Leplay   

Country: US; Running Time: 71 min  

When his older boyfriend loses interest in him, the filmmaker relocates to Chicago and uses dating apps to cast new lovers in an amorphous project that his mother hates.


Catch The Fair One 

Directed by Josef Kubota Wladyka   

Country: US; Running Time: 85 min  

In this revenge thriller executive produced by Darren Aronofsky, Native American boxer, Kaylee (played by Real life US boxing world champion Kali Reis), searches for her missing kid sister. She becomes intentionally entangled in a human trafficking operation in an effort to retrace the steps of her sister and work her way up the chain of command to pinpoint the individual’s responsible.



Directed by Pablo Larraín      

Country: Chile; Running Time: 107 min         

After a shocking incident upends her family life and marriage to a tempestuous choreographer, Ema, a reggaeton dancer, sets out on an odyssey of personal liberation, in this incendiary drama about art, desire, and the modern family from director Pablo Larraín.


The Feast      

Directed by Lee Haven Jones           

Country: UK; Running Time: 95 min  

Almost entirely in the Welsh language, The Feast follows a young woman serving privileged guests at a dinner party in a remote house in rural Wales. The assembled guests do not realize they are about to eat their last supper.


John and the Hole   

Directed by Pascual Sisto     

Country: US; Running Time: 98 min  

The mysterious John and the Hole is a coming-of-age psychological thriller that plays out the unsettling reality of a boy who one day, without warning, drugs his family and holds them captive in a hole in the ground. This provocative film stars Michael C. Hall, Jennifer Ehle and Taissa Farmiga, and newcomer Charlie Shotwell as John.



Directed by Quentin Dupieux

Country: US; Running Time: 77 min  

From the director of Deerskin and Rubber a buddy film with a giant fly! Two simple-minded losers discover a giant fly in the trunk of a stolen car and decide to domesticate it in a bizarre get-rich-quick scheme.


The Novice   

Directed by Lauren Hadaway

Country: US; Running Time: 94 min  

Alex Dall, a queer college freshman who joins her university’s rowing team and undertakes an obsessive physical and psychological journey to make it to the top varsity boat, no matter the cost. Intent on outperforming her teammates, Alex pushes herself to her limits—and beyond, alienating everyone around her in the name of success.



Directed by Ori Segev, Noah Dixon  

Country: US; Running Time: 87 min  

Lennon Gates is a quiet and observant podcaster, but when she meets the charismatic musician Bobbi Kitten, her deceptive intentions surface. As their friendship forms, Lennon quickly spirals into obsession as she struggles with an unchecked search for creative identity.


The Shocklosers Survive Camp Analog   

Directed by Lee Fanning       

Country: US; Running Time: 76 min  

After an online prank goes wrong, a group of youtubing high schoolers are shipped off to Camp Analog-- a program designed to “rehabilitate” destructive tech habits-- but once there they must fight its strict rules-- and hidden intentions-- to stay who they really are.



Directed by Justine Triet       

Country: France, Belgium; Running Time: 100 min   

A sly, sultry character study from filmmaker Justine Triet, Sibyl follows a psychotherapist who decides to quit her practice and return to writing. As patients drop Sibyl struggles with lack of inspiration - until she gets a call from an actress wrapped up in a dramatic affair with her co-star who happens to be married to the film's director. Sibyl starts to blur fiction with reality, and the personal with the professional as she uses Margot's life as source material for her novel.


Swan Song   

Directed by Todd Stephens   

Country: US; Running Time: 105 min

An aging retired hairdresser (played by the legendary Udo Kier, in a career-defining role) escapes his drab nursing home and embarks upon a nostalgic odyssey across his small hometown to style a recently deceased woman’s hair for her funeral, confronting the ghosts of his past and rediscovering his sparkle along the way.


We Need to Do Something 

Directed by Sean King O'Grady        

Country: US; Running Time: 97 min  

After Melissa and her family seek shelter from a storm, they become trapped. With no sign of rescue, hours turn to days, and Melissa comes to realize that she and her girlfriend Amy might have something to do with the horrors that threaten to tear her family — and possibly the entire world — apart.



Directed by Dan Chen           

Country: US; Running Time: 91 min  

Four high school seniors in rural Louisiana attend T.M. Landry, an unconventional K-12 school housed in a warehouse made famous for sending its graduates to elite universities like Harvard, Yale, and Stanford. Students aim to meet the intense expectations of Mike Landry, the imposing founder of the who charts a relentless course towards their college dreams. When the New York Times publishes an expose on Landry’s controversial methods, the school buckles under the scrutiny. 



Directed by Jamila Wignot     

Country: US; Running Time: 82 min  

Ailey is an immersive documentary portrait of legendary choreographer Alvin Ailey, told in his own words and through the creation of a new commission inspired by his life. Ailey fully profiles this brilliant and enigmatic man who, when confronted by a world that refused to embrace him, was determined to build one that would.


Building A Bridge    

Directed by Shannon Post, Evan Mascagni  

Country: US; Running Time: 96 min  

Named after the book by Father James Martin, Building a Bridge follows a priest on his journey to make the Catholic Church more accepting of the LGBTQ+ community, despite loud opposition from both inside and outside the Church. Executive produced by Martin Scorsese.


The Capote Tapes   

Directed by Ebs Burnough    

Country: US; Running Time: 98 min  

Using newly discovered tapes of interviews that The Paris Review co-founder George Plimpton conducted with Truman Capote’s friends after his death, along with animation and new on-camera interviews, The Capote Tapes investigates the iconic author’s legacy, focusing heavily on the impact of Capote's explosive unfinished novel "Answered Prayers."



Directed by Jim Pattiz, Will Pattiz      

Country: US; Running Time: 122 min

The tragic, yet inspiring story of America's most misunderstood president. While leading the nation through a series of unprecedented crises, Jimmy Carter also confronted climate change and championed social justice at home and abroad. This groundbreaking film draws on archival footage, experts, and insiders to reveal how Carter's selfless leadership and moral integrity ultimately cost him the presidency. *Peanut Allergy Warning (not kidding)



Directed by Marq Evans        

Country: US; Running Time: 95 min  

A modern day Walt Disney, Will Vinton picked up a ball of clay and saw a world of potential. Known as the “Father of Claymation,” Vinton revolutionized the animation business during the 1980’s and 90’s. But after 30 years of being the unheralded king of clay, Will Vinton’s carefully sculpted American dream came crumbling down at the hands of an outside investor, Nike’s Phil Knight.



Directed by Joe Heslinga      

Country: US; Running Time: 96 min  

The highly enjoyable documentary Foosballers profiles six of the world’s top table soccer players as they compete for the world title. From life-long champions like former Birmingham police officer Cindy Head (yay!) to new school players like Ryan Moore (who also happens to be a Cannabis Cup winner), we get an inside look at the fiercely competitive world of professional foosball. Chronicling the little-known history of this underground sport, the film culminates in the Tornado World Championships. — Kyle McKinnon


Karen Dalton: In My Own Time     

Directed by Richard Peete, Robert Yapkowitz          

Country: US; Running Time: 86 min  

Blues and folk singer Karen Dalton was a prominent figure in 1960s New York. Idolized by Bob Dylan and Nick Cave, Karen discarded the traditional trappings of success and led an unconventional life until her early death. Since most images of Karen have been lost or destroyed, the film uses Karen's dulcet melodies and interviews with loved ones to build a rich portrait of this singular woman and her hauntingly beautiful voice.


Kid Candidate          

Directed by Jasmine Stodel   

Country: US; Running Time: 67 min  

In a time when young Americans increasingly feel cut off from politics and traditional institutions, Hayden Pedigo, a 24-year-old artist and musician in Amarillo, Texas, makes an unorthodox run for city council after his Harmony Korine-inspired spoof campaign video goes viral.


The Kids       

Directed by Eddie Martin       

Country: US; Running Time: 88 min  

26 years after Larry Clark’s notorious indie cult classic Kids was released to an unsuspecting nation, this documentary explores the divergent paths of the original cast, delivering an unflinching look back at one of the most iconic and provocative films of the 1990s. Kids launched prolific and profitable careers for Harmony Korine, Rosario Dawson and Chloe Sevigny — but what happened to the others?


Kubrick by Kubrick 

Directed by Gregory Monro  

Country: France, Poland; Running Time: 73 min      

A rare and transcendent journey into the life and films of the legendary Stanley Kubrick like we've never seen before, featuring a treasure trove of unearthed, previously unheard interview recordings from the master himself conducted over the course of 20 years. The documentary features archival footage of Sterling Hayden, Peter Sellers, Tom Cruise, Shelley Duvall, Jack Nicholson, Malcolm McDowell and more. 


Lady Boss: The Jackie Collins Story        

Directed by Laura Fairrie       

Country: US; Running Time: 96 min  

Lady Boss: The Jackie Collins Story takes viewers on an immersive journey through the trailblazing life of novelist Jackie Collins. The documentary reveals the untold story of a ground-breaking author and her mission to build a one-woman literary empire. Narrated by a cast of Jackie's closest friends and family, the film shares the private struggles of a woman who became an icon of 1980s feminism while hiding her vulnerability behind a carefully crafted, powerful public persona.



Directed by Sean Fine and Andrea Nix Fine 

Country: US; Running Time: 105 min

Three months before the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup, the players of the U.S. National Women’s Team filed a class-action gender discrimination lawsuit against the U.S. Soccer Federation. The film interweaves transcendent athletic performances, including a record-breaking World Cup victory in 2019, with the players' ongoing pursuit for equal pay. Featuring indomitable World Cup champions Megan Rapinoe, Jessica McDonald, Becky Sauerbrunn, Kelley O’Hara, and Sam Mewis.


Lily Topples the World       

Directed by Jeremy Workman          

Country: US; Running Time: 90 min  

The film follows young sensation Lily Hevesh - the world’s most acclaimed domino toppler as she rises as an artist, role model, and young woman. Filmed over 3 years across countless cities Lily Topples the World is a coming-of-age story cloaked within a unique portrait of an artist, a story of how passion and artistry can make dreams come true, and an unlikely American tale of a quiet Chinese adoptee who transforms into a global artistic force.


The Lost Leonardo 

Directed by Andreas Koefoed

Country: US; Running Time: 95 min  

The Lost Leonardo is the inside story behind the Salvator Mundi, the most expensive painting ever sold at $450 million. From the moment the painting is bought for $1175 at a shady auction house, and the restorer discovers masterful Renaissance brushstrokes under the heavy varnish of its cheap restoration, the painting’s fate is determined by an insatiable quest for fame, money and power. As its price soars, so do questions about its authenticity.


The Magic City Nutcracker 

Directed by Evan Lanier        

Country: US; Running Time: 84 min  

A new version of the traditional nutcracker ballet performed by Birmingham’s Magic City Nutcracker. The Christmastime festivities are underway at the Stahlbaum home. Clara, Herr Stahlbaum's beautiful daughter, is overjoyed when Herr Drosselmeyer mysteriously appears at the holiday soiree.


The Neutral Ground

Directed by CJ Hunt  

Country: US; Running Time: 90 min  

The Neutral Ground is a feature-length documentary about New Orleans’ fight over Confederate monuments and America’s centuries-long relationship with the Lost Cause. The documentary follows writer and comedian CJ Hunt as he documents the struggle to remove and the struggle to preserve these monuments. After witnessing this fight in his adopted city, CJ then explores how we understand a collective history as a nation with a contentious past.


North by Current     

Directed by Angelo Madsen Minax    

Country: US; Running Time: 85 min  

After the inconclusive death of his infant niece, filmmaker Angelo Madsen Minax returns to his rural Michigan hometown to create a woven reflection on generational addiction, Christian fervor, and trans embodiment. Like the relentless Michigan seasons, the meaning of family shifts, as Madsen, his sister, and his parents strive to accept each other.


Not Going Quietly   

Directed by Nicholas Bruckman        

Country: US; Running Time: 98 min  

Not Going Quietly is the story of Ady Barkan, a charismatic activist and father whose viral run-in with dismissive Senator Jeff Flake launched him into the public arena. Barkan was diagnosed with ALS at age 32; fearing rising healthcare costs in light of the proposed 2018 tax reform, he heads for Washington as part of a group voicing its dire concerns. 


On Broadway           

Directed by Oren Jacoby      

Country: US; Running Time: 82 min  

An all-star cast tells the inside story of the Broadway theater, and how it came back from the brink thanks to innovative work, a new attention to inclusion and a sometimes uneasy balance between art and commerce. Legends of the stage and screen, including Helen Mirren, Christine Baranski, August Wilson, James Corden, Alec Baldwin, John Lithgow, Viola Davis, Hugh Jackman and Ian McKellen, take us behind the scenes of Broadway's most beloved shows.


On The Divide          

Directed by Leah Galant        

Country: US; Running Time: 82 min  

On The Divide follows the story of three Latinx people living in McAllen, Texas who, despite their views, are connected by the most unexpected of places: the last abortion clinic on the U.S./Mexico border. As threats to the clinic and their personal safety mount, these three are forced to make decisions they never could have imagined.


The Passing On       

Directed by Nathan Clarke    

Country: US; Running Time: 70 min  

Three professions ushered Black former slaves from poverty to the American dream: preacher, teacher, and undertaker. Today, renowned embalmer James Bryant puts his faith in a new generation to continue this vanishing legacy. He’s met with resistance from his young intern, Clarence Pierre, who himself is conflicted about his commitment due to the judgment he feels from the Black community as a queer, Christian man.


Rock Camp   

Directed by Douglas Blush, Renee Barron   

Country: US; Running Time: 87 min  

Summer camp meets Spinal Tap as we journey to Rock 'n' Roll Fantasy Camp, where dreamers from across America and around the world gather to shred with their heroes — and learn to rock like the legends. Featuring Alice Cooper, Roger Daltrey, Sammy Hagar, Rob Halford, Lita Ford, Sebastian Bach, Jeff Beck and more.



Directed by Danny Lyon        

Country: US; Running Time: 75 min  

Through his own photographs taken in the 1960s’ in the deep south, Danny Lyon tells the story of SNCC, one of the most effective grassroots organizations in American history. Using audio recordings of the songs and music that drove the movement, and audio interviews Lyon made in the 1980’s of SNCC leaders, we witness the successes and crushing sacrifices of the movement that “broke the back of Jim Crow and changed America and changed the world, forever.”


Socks On Fire          

Directed by Bo McGuire        

Country: US; Running Time: 93 min  

A poet composes a cinematic love letter to his grandmother as his homophobic aunt and drag queen uncle wage war over her estate in Hokes Bluff, Alabama. Socks On Fire won the Best Documentary award at the 2020 Tribeca Film Festival. The Sidewalk/SHOUT screening will be preceded and followed by surprise performances so be sure to arrive on time and stay in your seats when the credits roll! 


Storm Lake   

Directed by Beth Levison, Jerry Risius         

Country: US; Running Time: 85 min  

An indelible parable for the state of contemporary journalism, Pulitzer prize-winning journalist Art Cullen and his family fight to unite and inform their rural Iowan farming community through their biweekly newspaper, The Storm Lake Times - even as the paper hangs on by a thread. Twice a week, they work as civic watchdogs to protect their hometown and the legacy of credible journalism, at large - come hell or pandemic.


Summer of Soul (...Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised)          

Directed by Questlove           

Country: US; Running Time: 118 min Over the course of six weeks during the summer of 1969, thousands of people attend the Harlem Cultural Festival to celebrate Black history, culture, music and fashion.


To Decadence with Love, Thanks for Everything!         

Directed by Stuart Sox          

Country: US; Running Time: 62 min  

To Decadence with Love, Thanks for Everything! follows the lives of drag queens Laveau Contraire and Franky Canga as they prepare for a weekend of New Orleans' queer celebration of identity, Southern Decadence. While getting a behind-the-scenes view of "gender fuckery art," we see queer performers challenging social norms and the boundaries of self-expression all while being a part of a rich community of artists.


Try Harder!   

Directed by Debbie Lum        

Country: US; Running Time: 85 min  

With humor and heart, director Debbie Lum takes us to the reality of the American college application process and the intersection of class, race, and educational opportunity as experienced by high school seniors living through it. Try Harder! is a portrait of young adults in the most diverse American generation ever as they navigate a quintessential rite of passage and make it their own.



Directed by Matt Yoka           

Country: US; Running Time: 103 min

Set in 1980s and ’90s Los Angeles, reporters Bob Tur and Marika Gerrard revolutionized breaking news with their brazen helicopter reporting. The couple captured footage from the L.A. riots, the O.J. Bronco chase, Madonna’s wedding to Sean Penn and beyond. Culled from the duo's video archive, Whirlybird is an L.A. story of a family in turbulence hovering over a city unhinged.


Sidewalk is a federally recognized 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to encouraging filmmaking in Alabama and building audiences for independent film. We produce the nationally recognized Sidewalk Film Festival, the SHOUT LGBTQ Film Festival; organize a wide-variety of educational programs for filmmakers and hold other events that create interest in and enthusiasm for independent film. To expand on this work and better serve our mission we have opened the Sidewalk Film Center + Cinema, a two screen independent movie theater in the heart of Birmingham’s historic theatre district. For twenty-one years our organization’s premiere event has been the Sidewalk Film Festival, which showcases the work of more than 250 filmmakers and welcomes 15,000 film lovers to Birmingham annually.  Since its debut in 1999, filmmakers from across the country and around the world have come to Birmingham to screen their work at Sidewalk and have been thrilled to discover enthusiastic crowds eager to devour new independent cinema. The Festival continues to thrive with increased in submissions, ticket sales, and press coverage. The 23rd annual Sidewalk Film Festival will take place August 23-29, 2021.

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