Sidewalk 2021 is just around the corner. The annual celebration of Birmingham’s thriving arts scene begins on Monday, August 23. This year, artists from throughout The Magic City will become stars on the silver screen during the week-long film festival. Keep reading to meet four Birmingham artists who are featured in Sidewalk this year. Buy your tickets here.
Climbing meets classical cello in Alabama Climbs
Alabama Climbs is a celebration of our state’s art and natural beauty. The film follows Alabama Symphony Orchestra cellist and rock climber Hellen Weberpal.
Like many artists, Weberpal needed a way to exhibit her art publicly during the pandemic. To achieve this, Weberpal connected the beauty of Alabama to her compositions.
Weberpal went out and climbed various boulders in Alabama, filming her movements. Using this footage, she created a piece of music based on the exact steps she took to climb each boulder.
John Manzelli is the Executive Producer of Alabama Climbs. He thinks Sidewalk is a critical outlet for performing artists during the pandemic.
“Sidewalk has given us an outlet to share our art and turn theatre into film. Sidewalk is promoting these local artists and giving them a chance to show their work on a larger scale, and I think it’s going to be a celebration for us. We’re very excited to share our work with a live audience that’s been missing for so long. ”John Manzelli, Executive Producer, Alabama Climbs and Graffica
Alabama Climbs will screen at 10:20PM on Friday, August 27 at the Boutwell Auditorium. Buy Sidewalk 2021 tickets today to support local films.
Yogi Dada tells her story in Graffica
“Graffica, more than my style, is my story. It’s a journey from a little black girl in upstate New York who lives in a predominately white area to today. There was not a lot of imagery that looks like me to help me come into my identity as an artist. This isn’t about color or gender, but my humanity.”Yogi Dada, artist, creator of Graffica
The black and white production integrates visual art, poetry, rap and dance into one film. Yogi Dada created 15 original backdrops for the piece. She also wrote poetry and raps to tell her unique and inspirational story.
Most of Graffica was improvised on the day of its recording last fall. It was recorded at the Dorothy Jemison Day Theater, and many local artists collaborated in the process.
Local choreographer Germaul Barnes improvised a dance during Graffica, while the Sahib On Ko Djony drum group provided an improvised rhythm for the film.
Yogi Dada said that Sidewalk 2021‘s selection of Graffica meant a lot to all the artists involved.
“It’s a sweet moment of being embraced by your community. As a local artist, a lot of times you may not feel like you’re getting support at home. It’s like a hug from the community.”Yogi Dada, artist, Director, Graffica
Graffica will screen at 5:10PM on Saturday, August 27 at the Birmingham Museum of Art.
ASFA students bring quarantine down to Earth
Sidewalk supports local filmmakers of all ages. For Sidewalk 2021, the festival challenged young filmmakers to document their experience in quarantine as a part of the COVID Teen Video Challenge.
Alabama School of Fine Arts (ASFA) seniors Miriam Anderson and Kelan Millican created the short film Terra for the COVID Teen Video Challenge. It’s the first film the two have completed, and it will be screened at Sidewalk 2021.
Terra is an expressionist film that follows one teen girl’s experience during quarantine. During the pandemic, the character experiences pressure to remain productive despite emotional stress. There’s a buildup of tension throughout the film until the girl finally breaks away from societal expectations.
Terra‘s main character finds her escape through nature. The film culminates with her doing an Indian dance routine at Ruffner Mountain. This scene is an expression of freedom from stress-inducing pressures.
By supporting young filmmakers, Sidewalk nurtures the next generation of Alabama artists.
“I think a lot of filmmakers need to be supported because it is an industry about who you know and those kinds of connections. It’s important to support young filmmakers and give them a place to start from. Sidewalk’s done a great job of that.”Kelan Millican, Director of Photography, Terra
Buy Sidewalk tickets today to support promising young filmmakers.