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Sidewalk Film Festival returns to the Magic City for its 23rd year on August 23-29. With eight theaters and endless movies, there are countless ways to experience the event. Here’s your guide to Birmingham’s biggest week in film. Tickets available now.
What is Sidewalk Film Festival?
Sidewalk is Birmingham’s premier film festival. It showcases more than 250 films and welcomes 15,000 film lovers to the Magic City annually. Not only do filmmakers come from across the world to screen their work at the festival, but Sidewalk is also a critical part of Birmingham’s growing art scene.
While Sidewalk hosted their 2020 festival at Grand River Drive-In in Leeds to promote social distancing, this year, the festival is back in Birmingham’s historic theatre district, and I couldn’t be more excited. I’m ready to pound the pavement in search of my favorite independent film.
Tickets for this year’s festival are on sale now. Here’s our guide to Sidewalk’s magic:
Sidewalk has already announced its first official film selection for this year, and it’s a great one. Socks on Fire is an artful and heartfelt documentary about a poet’s dead grandmother from Hokes Bluff, Alabama. Amidst this grief, the poet’s homophobic aunt and drag queen uncle battle it out over their mother’s estate. It’s sure to be a nostalgic and thought-provoking watch.
The rest of Sidewalk’s lineup will be announced in Mid-July—stay tuned!
One of the most unique things about Sidewalk is their location. Right in the heart of downtown Birmingham, the historic theatre district shows off the best of the Magic City. This year, Sidewalk is screening films at eight locations:
- Sidewalk Cinema
- Alabama Theatre
- The Lyric Theatre
- First Church Birmingham
- Alabama School of Fine Arts (Dorothy Jemison Day Theater, Recital Hall and Lecture Hall)
- Steiner Auditorium at the Birmingham Museum of Art
- Boutwell Auditorium
Fun-Filled After Parties
Sidewalk is a celebration of film and the unique people who love it. The festival is a great way to meet and network with like-minded creatives. To encourage these new friendships, Sidewalk hosts three parties throughout the weekend:
Opening night happy hour
When: Friday, August 27 | 5PM-7PM
Where: In front of the Alabama Theatre on 3rd Avenue North
Restrictions: Free and unticketed.
Opening night after party
When: Friday, August 28 | 10PM-1AM
Where: 1800 block of 3rd Avenue, Birmingham, AL 35204
Restrictions: Anyone with a weekend pass or a lanyard can attend.
Saturday night after party
When: Saturday, August 27 | 10 PM-1AM
Where: Boutwell Auditorium
Restrictions: Accessible to anyone with a Saturday night party pass. The pass is $25 and includes 2 drinks.
A weekend pass for Sidewalk 2021 is $75. Prices will go up on July 15—buy yours now.
Sidewalk 2021 Schedule
Spotlight Screenings – Monday-Thursday, August 23-26
- Showing one film per night at the Sidewalk Cinema/lower level of The Pizitz.
- Opening Night Film: 7-10PM at the Alabama Theatre
- Opening Night After Party: 10PM-1AM at Birmingham’s 1800 block on 3rd Avenue
- Film Screenings: All venues 10AM-1AM
- VIP Lounge (lanyards only): Noon-6PM at the Northwest corner of The Pizitz
- Saturday Night Party (ticketed): 10PM-1AM (Location TBD)
- Film Screenings: All venues 10AM-10PM
- VIP Lounge (lanyards only): Noon-6AM at the Northwest corner of The Pizitz
- Awards Show: 9-10:30PM at The Lyric Theatre
Ready to attend the 2021 Sidewalk Film Festival? Buy your tickets now.
To stay in the know on all things Sidewalk Film Festival, visit their website and follow them on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.