The 20th Annual Sidewalk Film Festival in 20 photos

Birmingham, Alabama, 20th Annual Sidewalk Film Festival Recap
Birmingham, Alabama, 20th Annual Sidewalk Film Festival Recap
Outside Alabama Theatre. Photo by Jacob Blankenship for Bham Now

The 20th Annual Sidewalk Film Festival in Birmingham was a smash hit this weekend. Now, for the Bham Now star-studded recap.

Birmingham, Alabama, 20th Annual Sidewalk Film Festival Recap
This sign at Alabama Theatre says it all. Photo by Terri Robertson for Bham Now
Powered By Volunteers

Sidewalk Film Festival volunteers were behind the scenes and around every corner of the festival’s swath through downtown Birmingham. They, along with lots of bright yellow signs, helped ticket holders find their theater destinations. Thanks, guys!

Sidewalk Film Festival signage downtown. Photo by Terri Robertson for Bham Now
Mingling With The Filmmakers

Filmmakers both local and from afar mixed and mingled at the exclusive Sidewalk Opening Night Pre-Party on Friday at Roots & Revelry in the historic Thomas Jefferson Tower in downtown Birmingham.

Birmingham, Alabama, 20th Annual Sidewalk Film Festival Recap
Nathaniel Hedricks and Mohit Jaswal, creators of “Selfie Shtick,” at the pre-party. Photo by Terri Robertson for Bham Now

I caught up with Austin, Texas-based filmmakers Nathaniel Hedricks and Mohit Jaswal, creators of “Selfie Shtick,” a parody film featuring two selfie-taking video bloggers. What did they think of Birmingham?

“IT. IS. AMAZING. This is my second year being here. I was here last year. I love this place so much. It’s very welcoming, and Sidewalk does a great job of exposing Birmingham culture that I didn’t realize was here.”

Mohit Jaswal of “Selfie Shtick”
Birmingham, Alabama, 20th Annual Sidewalk Film Festival Recap
Véronique Vanblaere (director, story and puppet artist) and Rebecca Pugh (producer) of “Space Wind.” Photo by Terri Robertson for Bham Now

Birmingham filmmakers Véronique Vanblaere of Naked Art Gallery and her producer Rebecca Pugh also got their pre-party game on at Roots & Revelry. I caught their film “Space Wind” later during the Sunday Alabama Shorts block at ASFA Dorothy Jemison Day Theatre. 

Related: 5 Birmingham-centric filmmakers at Sidewalk Film Festival. How many of their films did you see this weekend?

Birmingham, Alabama, 20th Annual Sidewalk Film Festival Recap, Alabama Theatre, Tony Bingham, volunteer
Sidewalk volunteer Tony Bingham. Photo by Terri Robertson for Bham Now

Best conversation of the evening: longtime Sidewalk Film Festival volunteer Tony Bingham. How could I not introduce myself? That folk art vest drew me like a beacon.

Bingham is an instructor in the division of humanities at Miles College in Birmingham, and he encourages his students of all majors to volunteer at Sidewalk Film Festival every year because of the valuable connections they can make.

David Parker and Isaac Franklin, creators of “Sunrise.” Photo by Terri Robertson for Bham Now

Speaking of bright young minds: Alabama filmmakers David Parker (lead actor) and Isaac Franklin (director) are two rising stars to watch. In search of the perfect light for their script, they shot every scene of their short “Sunrise” during the blue hour, aka morning twilight.

The location of “Sunrise”? Downtown Birmingham, no less. The film showed at Rushton Theatre in the McWane Science Center as part of a block of teen-produced films.

Greeters for Shout from the Rooftops. Photo by Jonathon Meeks Bham Now
Not To Mention, A Rooftop Party

Bham Now’s Jonathon Meeks joined the Shout from the Rooftops party, literally on the rooftop of the Pizitz. (SHOUT LGBTQ film festival is a mini-festival within Sidewalk.)

Shout from the Rooftops party. Photo by Jonathon Meeks Bham Now
Great Crowds

VIP, weekend and opening night passes to the 20th Annual Sidewalk Film Festival sold out by Friday evening. Among the crowd were Ninfa Moreno and Abby Hogue, winners of the Bham Now Sidewalk VIP ticket giveaway.

Ninfa Moreno and Abby Hogue, Bham Now’s Sidewalk VIP ticket winners. Photo by Jonathon Meeks for Bham Now
Ladies And Gentlemen, We Have A Record

Sidewalk reported a record daytime crowd for Saturday afternoon’s “Three Identical Strangers.” The documentary delved into the human fallout of an unethical nature-versus-nuture research study, and the line to see it at Alabama Theatre stretched all the way to the corner of 2nd Avenue and 19th Street North. 

Sidewalk Film Festival crowds at Alabama Theatre. 
Rave Reviews

“Birmingham’s Sidewalk Film Festival is Amazing! Loved the opening night film ‘White Tide: The Legend of Culebra.'”

@Dr_CharlotteD via Twitter
Saturday Alabama Shorts filmmakers at The Dorothy Jemison Day Theatre at the Alabama School of Fine Arts. Photo by Terri Robertson for Bham Now

“5 films. 1 day. Thanks @sidewalkfilm SO FUN!”

@rebangelbaer via Twitter
Birmingham, Alabama, 20th Annual Sidewalk Film Festival Recap
Sidewalk Film Festival crowd at the Lyric Theatre. Photo by Jacob Blankenship for Bham Now

“Showed Viola Vs The Vampire King at @sidewalkfilm yesterday, and it was a whirlwind of meeting incredible people, eating great food and watching some rather provocative After Dark shorts :0”

KevinFermini via Twitter
First Church Birmingham served as home base for Sidewalk volunteers and the Environmental Shorts. Photo by Terri Robertson for Bham Now

My personal fave: the Environmental Shorts at First Church Birmingham. In the space of two hours, I learned about the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, the fight to save and rehabilitate elephants in Kenya, and the Rise at Standing Rock. But I also learned about issues closer to home, like UAB’s sustainability efforts in Birmingham and coastal erosion on Dauphin Island.

The Alabama School of Fine Arts is not as central to downtown dining as other Sidewalk Film Festival venues. Food trucks filled in the gap for hungry film fans. Photo by Terri Robertson for Bham Now
Audience Choice Awards

If you attended any film at the 20th Annual Sidewalk Film Festival, you got a ballot. Did you notice the logo under the Sidewalk logo? That’s right, Bham Now sponsored the Audience Choice Awards! 

Voting ballot and program. Photo by Terri Robertson for Bham Now

The Sidewalk Film Festival Audience Choice Awards took place 9 p.m. Sunday at the Lyric Theatre. 

Lyric Theatre. Photo by Terri Robertson for Bham Now

And who presented the Audience Choice Awards? Lauren Bedford and Wade Cline of Bham Now, of course.

Hey, Lauren and Wade! Photo for Bham Now

And the 20th Annual Sidewalk Film Festival Audience Choice Awards go to…

  • Best Narrative Feature: “Mapplethorpe”
  • Best Documentary Feature: “Bathtubs Over Broadway”
  • Best Narrative Short: “Undiscovered”
  • Best Documentary Short: “Come and Take It”
  • Best Alabama Film: “Icepick to the Moon”
  • Best Shout Narrative Feature: “Wild Nights with Emily”
Birmingham, Alabama, 20th Annual Sidewalk Film Festival Recap
Alabama Theatre. Photo by Jacob Blankenship for Bham Now

It’s been a great 20 years, Sidewalk Film Festival. Can’t wait to hit 50 years in 2048!

Alabama Theatre. Photo by Jacob Blankenship for Bham Now