If you like movies and helping people, volunteer at Birmingham’s Sidewalk Film Festival, August 20-26

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Birmingham, Alabama, Sidewalk Film Fest
James Brown and his wife Emily. They met at Sidewalk as volunteers! Photo via James Brown

So, you love all-things cinema and you love Birmingham. Then become a Sidewalk volunteer!  Birmingham’s annual film festival runs August 20-26.

Birmingham, Alabama, Sidewalk
Sidewalk volunteers doing their thing, always with a smile. Photo via Sidewalk Film Fest

Here’s the link to volunteer. And, yes, there are perks (like free passes)!

Your Film Festival Tribe Awaits

Sidewalk has been going strong since 1998, and there are plenty of folks who have been volunteering since then, helping to grow the nationally-recognized festival into what it is today.

Birmingham, Alabama, Sidewalk Film Festival
James Brown taking the mic at the Salsa Showdown, a fundraiser that benefits the Sidewalk Film Festival. Photo via JND photography

Sign up for our newsletter for your chance to win free tickets to Sidewalk!

Sidewalk Volunteer Champions

You’ll meet other film buffs, like James Brown. He’s been supporting Birmingham’s film community since day onewhen we (or your parents) were all still renting movies from Blockbuster twenty years ago. Here’s more on what Sidewalk was like back then:

“The first year I helped run a venue, and that was when things were literally in empty, vacant stores, because things were like that downtown,” Brown said.

“Like The Vault, before it was The Vault. For the most part, I set up a projector and a player and set up folding chairs. It was pretty interesting.”

Birmingham, Alabama, Sidewalk

“I wanted to be a part of Sidewalk because there were so many movies I kept hearing about that were not showing in Birmingham,” Brown said. “I was hopeful that Sidewalk would be a place where we could see some of those things we normally didn’t get.”

Come to volunteer, stay for the fun. Volunteers Aaron Hillis, Clare Cooney, Shane Simmons and Lisa Petruff at the 2017 Sidewalk Film Festival. Photo by Karen Downs for Sidewalk Film Festival
Indie Cinema In The Wild

Sidewalk is screening over 250 films in all sorts of genres, and there’s a 3D aspect to the experience, too. Think themed-events based off films, as well as film chats and Q&As with directors. This is truly an experiencenot just another night at the movies.

Birmingham, Alabama, Sidewalk Film Festival
The Mai Tide, a cocktail from Roots and Revelry, made in honor of Sidewalk Film Festival’s opening night film “White Tide: The Legend of Culebra.”

“You know, very few movie-rental businesses had the indie stuff everybody wanted to see, and that’s changed a little bit with Nextflix, but you still don’t get everything.

“That’s why Sidewalk is so important now. It’s a place to watch indie films with a crowd, instead of you being at home, on your couch, with the remote.”

WRESTLE  follows the wrestling team at J.O. Johnson High School in Huntsville, Ala., which has been on Alabama’s failing schools list for many years. Watch the team’s inspiring story at Sidewalk Film Festival on Sunday, August 26, 2:45 p.m. at the Dorothy Jemison Day Theater at ASFA. Get tickets here. Photo via Sidewalk Film Festival
Support Your Local Filmmakers

From UAB students, to Birmingham locals, to Alabama filmmakers, there are plenty of selections to catch from our home team.

Birmingham, Union, Union the movie, Sidewalk Film festival Birmingham, movies in Birmingham, Birmingham movies, Tucker Meek, Virginia Newcomb
Nationally-known but Birmingham-based Whitney Hamilton and Virginia Newcomb in “Union”, playing at the Sidewalk Film Festival on . Photo via “Union”

Watching a film at Sidewalk means you’re supporting our city and our state. There’s a reason why big names are filming movies here, y’all. The way we continue to uplift our own film community is part of the reason why.

Birmingham, Alabama, Sidewalk Film Festival
James Brown doing his thing at the Sidewalk Film Festival. Photo via JND photography

Here’s the link to sign up for our newsletter for your chance to win free tickets to Sidewalk!

The Acting Bug

After Brown became involved in Sidewalk his film friends started recruiting him for their projects.

“For me, there have been some film competitions, just being an extra here and there in various movies, shorts and features, and then I caught the bug even further and wrote and shot my own short film that played at Sidewalk 11 years ago,” Brown said.

“As a result of that, I’ve gotten more paid acting jobs. A lot of indie film work you do for love, but those opportunities have come to me. I would have never dreamed of doing any of that before Sidewalk and meeting people through Sidewalk.”

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