The South’s Next Spielberg? Sidewalk Movie Festival Is Back

August 23, 2012 | By | Comments (1)

He or she might be among us.

Filmmakers from around the South gather this weekend in our hometown for the 14th Annual Sidewalk Film Festival—a Birmingham-based celebration of international film. In historic theatres and more intimate venues across the downtown area, this year’s festival showcases nearly 200 short films, documentaries, and narrative features. We chatted with Executive Director, Chloe Collins, and Lead Programmer, Rachel Morgan, about some of the Southern-made or based films they’re most excited to share with audiences. For a full film schedule, click here.

2012 Sidewalk Film Festival from Hey Ali Clark on Vimeo

Rachel: “This is a wonderful objective film/non-traditional documentary that follows three young kids through the streets of New Orleans after they miss the last ferry to Algiers and end up roaming around the French Quarter. The style and camera work really put the audience in the film, so the documentary provides a voyeur-like look into the strange extreme late night of the city.”
(Screens Saturday, August 25, 10:30am at the Carver Theatre)

Our Mockingbird
Chloe: “This iconic Southern documentary tells the story of a stage production of To Kill a Mockingbird that two Alabama schools (Mountain Brook and Fairfield High Schools) produce in collaboration with one another. With two distinct school systems, the film shows how  students work together for a  stage adaptation of the book. It’s an interesting study of where we are now after the Civil Rights struggle in the South in our attempt to equalize educational opportunities.”
(Screens Saturday, August 25, 12:15pm at the Alabama School of Fine Arts)

American Man
Chloe: “This is not a Southern-made film, but the subject is Southern. The film is about Kevin Turner, who played college football at the University of Alabama and then went onto play in the NFL. He now lives in Vestavia Hills, and has been diagnosed with ALS (or Lou Gehrig’s disease). The movie is about his career, and the medical suspicion of his diagnosis as linked to his repetitive head trauma.”
(Screens Saturday, August 25, 1:40 at the Alabama Theatre)

Eating Alabama
Chloe: “Not only is it a local filmmaker (Andrew Beck Grace, professor of Documenting Justice program at the University of Alabama), it’s about Alabama, our connection to food, and to the community. It’s an entertaining doc following two couples on a year-long quest to eat only locally grown food.”
(Screens Saturday, August 25, 6:15pm at the Alabama Theatre)

Rachel: “This sci-fi romance was shot completely in Alabama, mostly in Bessemer, and it’s a terrific film. The locations are stellar — from the Bright Star and Johns City Diner to the Princess Theater in Decatur. I also love that the filmmakers have decided to self-distribute the film despite interest from big distributors.”
(Screens Saturday, August 25, 7:25pm at the Red Mountain Theatre)

Rachel: “This is an incredible narrative film—extremely unique, really strange, and darkly funny. For folks looking for a traditional film at the Sidewalk festival this is probably not the one, but for those hoping to see something creative and different, it is a great film to catch. The film truly captures the majestic world of adolescence and vividly reflects the strange snickelway between frustrated restlessness and true careless independence; a phenomenon that usually only exists in the world of a pre-teen. The filmmakers, the Zellner Brothers are based out of Austin, Texas and their work is usually eye-catching and provocative in some odd way.”
(Screens Saturday, August 25, 7:30pm at The Venue)

This narrative by Texas filmmaker, Ya’ke Smith, is about a young boy caught in a sexual relationship with a clergy member of his church, and how it affects his family and community.
Rachel: “The film does a great job at not shying away from the complicated nature of the situation, and the related politics and the performances in the film are truly stellar.”
(Screens Saturday, August 25, 9:30pm at Red Mountain Theatre)

Rachel: “This is an anthology horror film that revolves around a crew of folks sifting through some pretty horrific video footage [found in an old rundown house] in search of a particular tape. One of the segments is directed by Alabama native filmmaker, Adam Wingard.”
(Screens Saturday, August 25, 9:45pm at The Carver Theatre)

Pilgrim Song
Rachel: “This film was shot in Kentucky and West Virginia and really highlights the beauty of that region which you just don’t see often in the media, and I thought that was really lovely. To me, it was a really peaceful film about inner turmoil that I found to be an interesting dynamic.”
(Screens Sunday, August 26, 2:55pm at the Hill Arts Center)

Blues for Willadean
Chloe: “This is a feature film from writer/director Del Shores based on the play, ‘The Trials and Tribulations of A Trailer Trash Housewife,’ and featuring Octavia Spencer from Montgomery and Beth Grant (from the Shoals area). It’s a Southern story about a woman in an abusive relationship, and how her best friend helps her navigate through it.”
(Screens Sunday, August 26, 5:00pm at the Alabama School of Fine Arts)


  1. Larry

    Hooray for “Blues for Willadean”! GREAT movie. Amazing acting (look who’s in it!) Great “southern” feel and great heart behind it. LOVE IT!

    September 3, 2012 at 1:15 pm

Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s