6 local filmmakers on the big screen at Sidewalk Film Festival on Aug. 22-28

Duquette Johnston
Duquette Johnston’s film includes his music. (Shorefire Media)

It’s almost time to grab popcorn and watch incredible films during the Sidewalk Film Festival. Before you make your plans to head out to Birmingham’s theatre district on August 22-28, check out these local filmmakers that will have films showing at the festival.

1-2. Elaine Witt & Greg Womble—Love Without Parole

This short documentary tells a love story with the twist of the difficulty of maintaining a relationship while serving a life-without-parole sentence in a notorious Alabama prison.

3. Ben Johnson—Ceaseless

Ben Johnson Ceaseless
A must-see short film. (Ben Johnson / Bham Now)

Produced by our very own Bham Nower, Ben Johnson, this short film is five minutes of suspense. It tells the story of a man who wakes up bloody in a red forest and is chased by a creature he can’t escape.

“A friend and I were bored during lockdown so over the space of an afternoon we went into the woods and decided we’d try and make a little horror short film about a guy who wakes up in the middle of the woods covered in blood with no memory of how he got there and finds himself stuck in a loop he can’t escape. It was a fun little filmmaking exercise and I’m really excited to show it to the world.”

Ben Johnson, Videographer, Bham Now

4. Sabrina Palmer—Dance To Me

Sabrina Palmer Sidewalk
History buffs, you’ll love this one. (Sabrina Palmer / Bham Now)

Are you curious about the history of dance education in Birmingham? Bham Nower Sabrina Palmer fills you in about this in her film, including the legendary Corky Bell.

5-6. Duquette Johnston & Daniel Fox—ETOWAH: A Film about Duquette Johnston

Filmed in Birmingham and featuring Duquette Johnston‘s soulful rock music from his album Etowah, this film tells the story of how he ended up in prison and received a second chance. After the film, there will be a Q&A and live performance with Duquette.

“This film is the story of how I ended up behind bars and how I came out of it. It’s not just a redemption story. It’s a conversation about the drug laws in this country and how they disproportionately affect poor and minority communities.

I hope this film can shine a light on the importance of mental health care and the practice of compassion and empathy and that it might be expansive to someone who maybe made some mistakes in the past. Perhaps, it might fall on the ears of someone who has the power of the lock and key. Change starts within.”

Duquette Johnston, Musical Artist

BONUS: Southern premiere of Brian Vincent—Make Me Famous

While this one isn’t by a local filmmaker, we wanted to let you know about the Southern premiere of a film that will be part of this year’s SHOUT! Festival. SHOUT! is Alabama’s queer film showcase, advocating for awareness, acceptance and appreciation of diversity. This film brings the Bham audience to the Big Apple. The 1980s NYC art scene is going to be shown on the big screen through the colorful career of the talented painter, Edward Brezinski. This screening will be the Southern premiere of Make Me Famous, coming from a premiere at the Outfest LGBTQ Film Festival in Los Angeles.

“Make Me Famous explores the idea of what making it really means and reminds us that a life devoted to art is worth exploring.”

Heather Spore, Producer, Make Me Famous

Sidewalk Film Festival ticket info

Sidewalk Film Festival
We hope to see you there. (Jacob Blankenship / Bham Now)

We know you’re excited to watch the films these Bham filmmakers made. Here are the different types of tickets you can buy online:

  • Premium Single
    • Includes: access to that particular film or shorts block
    • Cost: $15
  • Saturday Day Pass
    • Includes: access to regular screenings on Saturday, August 27
    • Cost: $35
  • Sunday Day Pass
    • Includes: access to regular screenings on Sunday, August 28
    • Cost: $35
  • Weekend Pass
    • Includes: all-access to festival weekend films + access to Opening Night Film and After Party
    • Cost: $95
  • VIP Pass
    • Includes: all-access pass to the festival
    • Cost: $270

What film are you most excited to watch at this year’s Sidewalk Film Festival? Tag us @BhamNow on social to let us know!

Selah Vetter
Selah Vetter
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