NEW: Sidewalk Film Festival announces its first 9 official feature selections—learn more

Sidewalk Film Festival 4 NEW: Sidewalk Film Festival announces its first 9 official feature selections—learn more
Let’s all go to the movies. (Nathan Watson / Bham Now)

Calling all movie lovers—Sidewalk Film Festival has officially announced the first nine feature selections to be screened at this year’s festival in downtown Birmingham’s theatre district from August 22-28. Read on to view the exciting list of selections.

1. Mija

  • Director: Isabel Castro
  • Genre: Documentary (Life & Liberty)
  • Synopsis: This remarkable documentary from Disney and Nat Geo follows Doris Muñoz, a young Mexican-American woman working as a music talent manager for a hot new artist and providing a key source of income for her undocumented parents and her brother, who has been deported. But as circumstances force her business to evolve, she meets Jacks Haupt, another hungry young artist from a mixed-status family for whom making it in show business isn’t just a dream—it’s a necessity. Part confessional, part crowd-pleaser, Mija shines a light on these first-generation Americans hustling to make it big and give their families a ticket to a better life. 

2. The Automat

  • Director: Lisa Hurwitz
  • Genre: Documentary
  • Synopsis: The Automat is a fond remembrance of Horn & Hardart, a more than 100-year-old chain of popular fast-food restaurants at which customers would select a menu item from rows of coin-operated windowed compartments and eat their meals at communal tables. For generations, these restaurants were New York fixtures. This documentary interviews many of its most famous former customers, including iconic comedian Mel Brooks and the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

3. A Walk with Joey

  • Director: Dana Lynn Falletta and J. Neil Bloomer
  • Genre: Documentary (Alabama, Life & Liberty)
  • Synopsis: Joey Hale survived a brain tumor at a very young age and defied all odds to mount a recovery, thanks to some needed inspiration from his beloved football team the San Diego Chargers and a close friendship with former Auburn player Lionel “Little Train” James. Now Joey pays it forward to others all around the Birmingham area and beyond, bringing smiles to his customers at Publix and ministry and charity to those less fortunate. A Walk With Joey is a fond portrait of a true Alabama original whose life has touched thousands.

4. The Sun Rises in the East

  • Director: Tayo Giwa
  • Genre: Documentary (Black Lens)
  • Synopsis: In 1969 in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn, prominent Black activists and educators founded The East, a pan-African cultural organization established to enrich the lives of children and promote Black self-determination. This documentary tells its story, as The East grew to include a school, publisher, clothing shop and bookstore—and changed the lives of parents and students alike by giving a neighborhood the tools it needed for empowerment.

5. The Thief Collector

  • Director: Allison Otto
  • Genre: Documentary
  • Synopsis: In 1985, a priceless painting was cut from its frame at the University of Arizona Museum of Art and stolen in broad daylight. It resurfaced 32 years later—but you wouldn’t believe me if I told you where it was found. The Thief Collector tells the unbelievable story of a heist with the unlikeliest of perpetrators, examining the complicated motives of its audacious criminals with bubbly flair in a film everyone will be talking about.

6. Peace in the Valley

  • Director: Tyler Riggs
  • Genre: Narrative
  • Synopsis: A young mother is suddenly widowed when her husband is killed in an act of heroism during a mass shooting incident. The wrenching timely drama Peace in the Valley focuses on the aftermath, as the family struggles to rebuild their lives. Anchored by an excellent lead performance from Brit Shaw and Sidewalk fixture Michael Abbott Jr. in a dual role, this sensitive work tries to find meaning in the violent meaninglessness of the new American normal.

7. Funny Pages

  • Director: Owen Kline
  • Genre: Narrative
  • Synopsis: A young cartoonist drops out of school to make it on his own in the seedy margins of Trenton, New Jersey, in this dark comedy from A24 and producers Josh and Benny Safdie. The directorial debut of actor Owen Kline, Funny Pages is a grimy and gleefully tasteless look at a subculture of comic book-obsessed young men.

8. The Integrity of Joseph Chambers

  • Director: Robert Mattoon
  • Genre: Narrative (Alabama)
  • Synopsis: Director Robert Machoian and Alabama’s own Clayne Crawford last collaborated on The Killing of Two Lovers; their latest, shot in Alabama, is another deeply tense thriller about modern masculinity gone awry. Crawford plays the title character, a man fearful of imminent societal collapse who seeks to prove he can make it on his own during a hunting trip. But when things go terribly wrong, Joseph Chambers has to prove his mettle in unexpected ways.

9. Good Girl Jane

  • Director: Sarah Elizabeth Mintz
  • Genre: Narrative
  • Synopsis: A lonely teenage girl falls in with the wrong crowd in this stunning debut feature from Sarah Elizabeth Mintz. Rain Spencer stars at the title character, who meets a group of trendy friends and starts experimenting with drugs in the aftermath of her parents’ divorce. But Jane soon falls under the sway of a charming older man — and things spiral out of control. You may think you know this story, but you’ve never seen it done quite this well. Good Girl Jane won Best Narrative Film and Best Performance for Spencer at the 2022 Tribeca Film Festival.

Attend Sidewalk Film Festival

Sidewalk Film Festival 31 NEW: Sidewalk Film Festival announces its first 9 official feature selections—learn more
One of Birmingham’s most highly anticipated events. (Nathan Watson / Bham Now)

Lights, Camera, Action…Sidewalk Film Festival presented by Regions Bank is coming up soon. Follow Sidewalk on Facebook and Instagram to keep up with exciting film announcements to come— including the Opening Night selection.

Make sure to grab your Sidewalk 2022 passes today! Prices increase for VIP and Weekend Passes on July 15. Plus, discover why Sidewalk Film Center + Cinema is a unique treasure in The Magic City.

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Gabby Gervais
Articles: 151