Birmingham is full of amazing festivals all year round, music, food and art. However, a special one that I look forward to every year is the Sidewalk Film Festival. For one weekend in August, our historic Theatre District is packed with wonderful indie films that you want to see on the big screen before they hit your Netflix recommendations. Sidewalk is also special because every year it has proven itself to belong side bigger indie film festivals such as Sundance or South by Southwest and it's all right here in my backyard. I have volunteered over the years and have loved my experiences and stories to remember.
If you haven't picked up your weekend passes yet, what are you waiting for? You can get them online on their website, or next to the Alabama Theatre (not at the Theatre, two doors down) and then enjoy your weekend of filmmaking bliss and maybe I'll run into you!
I wanted to also give a lowdown of the top things I'm looking forward to seeing and doing this weekend and things to recommend. Be sure to follow me on Twitter, Snapchat @cturnip and Instagram all weekend! Then see my reviews on Letterboxd!
Start your Sidewalk weekend right by hitting up the first Theatre District Throwdown at 5pm filled with live music, beer, wine and food trucks all along 3rd Avenue North. Then at 8pm, head over to the Alabama Theatre for the Opening Night Film "In a Valley of Violence" starring Ethan Hawke, Dr. Who's Karen Gillan, American Horror Story's Taissa Farmiga and John Travolta in a dark humorous Western directed by Ti West. The cast alone sounds like the make up of a great film.
After the film, head outside to enjoy the Opening Night After Party with Shaheed & DJ Supreme, photo booths but don't party too hard because it's an early morning of all day films!
Grab your protein smoothie because the morning starts off with two great films at 10am! My choice will be seeing "Little Men" starring Greg Kinnear, because who doesn't love him and a coming of age story? The other pick would be seeing "The Fits", also at 10am, which is sure to be on the radar of many awards this year.
After that, I will be heading over to First Church Birmingham to see "First Lady of the Revolution" at 11:40. I'm always excited to see films based on our city. This is a special one as it focuses on the remarkable story of Henrietta Boggs, a Southern belle who takes an amazing journey through marriage and war to become the First Lady of Costa Rica.
Next grab some lunch at the Sidewalk Food Truck Rally at Sidewalk Central. There will be plenty of amazing food trucks, like Eugene's Hot Chicken, Cantina on Wheels and Saw's Street Kitchen. Or you can run to see "Other People" starring Molly Shannon and Todd from Breaking Bad.
My next recommendation isn't till 3pm with "All the Birds Have Flown South" starring Joey Lauren Adams in this unsettling psycho-thriller, which I am all about. The trailer speaks for itself and I'm always up for something creepy.
Next is one of my top films I am looking forward to seeing, "The Love Witch". This film screams the melodrama of the 1960's horror films that I've recently been obsessed with since last Halloween during my own film festival of horror. I'm a huge fan of Mario Bava and the genius Dario Argento films, that I can't wait to see how a modern take on this genre is played out.
Now, for families with children, there are many films to see, but none rank higher on my list than my all time favorite movie, "Labyrinth". I'm so thrilled as a Labyrinth fanatic (yes, I will admit that) that Sidewalk has chosen to show this on the big screen to celebrate its 30th anniversary and the passing of the Goblin King himself, David Bowie. So take your kids and let them experience the magic of Jim Henson's masterpiece.
For those skipping out on this masterpiece, I then highly recommend meeting my good friend James Martin in a Sidewalk Pop-Up for his film, Sazerac which will be showing Sunday in the Alabama Doc Series at 5:15, but until then come meet James and have a lovely Sazerac.
Now here comes another tough decision maker. There are two films that I highly want to see, but both are at the same time. As much as I've read about the movie "Cheerleader", I want to see this film. There is another, as my love of the horror genre, is "Beware of the Slenderman". Since this film is by HBO films, I think my choice will be "Cheerleader" since it's highly likely I'll see Slenderman soon on HBO.
There's also a film about a Birmingham legend, Gip Gibson, about the original and only true Juke Joint. SO MANY CHOICES!
After those films, get ready to put on your Day-Glo and listen to your favorite 90's tunes at the "Glow in the Dark 90's Party" . Now this is an extra ticket if you do not have VIP, but this will for sure be one of the best parties Sidewalk will have this weekend, so go ahead and do it and join the pizza party and oh yes, open bar.
To end the night after a break with dancing, pizza and beer on one of Birmingham's parking decks, end it of course with a film or set of films! The horror geek in me wants to see the "Dark and Bloody Nights Shorts", but there's also an interesting one that's also creepy and a little sci-fi of "The Arbalest" . But either one you choose, it will be a great end to a full successful day at Sidewalk.
Grab your favorite local coffee at Revelator and head to the Red Mountain Theatre Company for a screening of "The Curse of the Man Who Sees UFOs" . I'm always interested and mystified about UFO's and this man's story is one that I'm excited to see.
Next grab some lunch (or more coffee) before heading to the Alabama Theatre for the screening of a film I skipped in local theatres to see it here at Sidewalk, "Swiss Army Man". It just seems that A24 is just churning out amazing films these days so I'm interested to see this one. I mean, with Paul Dano and Daniel Radcliffe who plays a dead man, what could be better? Oh yeah, Daniel Scheinert, one of "Daniel" filmmakers will be in attendance, so don't miss this one.
Stick around after for the screening of "Holy Hell", a documentary about a utopian cult that goes wrong, who doesn't want to see that?
Also, don't forget about the Alabama Short Docs at 5:15 for the screening of SAZERAC!
As we come to the closing of Sidewalk, see the official closing night film "Little Sister" at the Alabama Theatre.
Next, get ready for another film on my "must see list", "The Master Cleanse" with a great cast of Johnny Galecki, Anna Friel, Oliver Platt and the legendary Anjelica Huston in a CREATURE FEATURE, yes you read that correctly. Should be tons of fun.
If that's not your cup of tea, then head over to the Lyric Theatre to see the Awards Ceremony to see who takes home the gold. Either way, I think yes, everyone is a winner, because you're at Sidewalk, so now, go home, be sad, but look forward (and of course volunteer if you haven't) to get ready for Sidewalk 2017!
Happy Viewing Everyone!
I’m a girl that likes the pork, eggs, homemade soups..vintage books and children’s books, artists who love what they do, writers/bloggers who inspire me, and good food and music with fabulous people to share it with.