Postcard from Birmingham

The week before the doors of Birmingham’s historic Alabama Theatre open to greet moviegoers, Sidewalk Moving Picture Festival’s communication and development manager, Rebecca Pugh, is working feverishly to get everything set for the biggest festival to date.

The 13th Sidewalk Moving Picture Festival takes place from August 26-28 and is transitioning from the South’s best-kept secret to a large-scale event. More than 200 filmmakers plan to attend, a fact that Pugh points out along with, “It’s really exciting for us that filmmakers respect our festival and want to come out and meet their audience.”

Sidewalk pays particular notice to the growing number of locals who are making their own independent films. As Pugh explains, “This year we have five feature-length films all done by Alabama filmmakers.” One of those films, Knocking Girls Down, is a story about a Birmingham roller derby team, the Tragic City Rollers. The entire team will don their skates and hit the pavement on 18th Street to drum up excitement for the film.

For Live at Preservation Hall: Louisiana Fairytale, which documents a music collaboration between New Orleans’ Preservation Hall Jazz Band and My Morning Jacket, the Jazz Band will perform Saturday night, right before the outdoor screening of the kids’ classic The Goonies.

This year, for the first time, two blocks of Birmingham’s city streets will be shut down to allow festival-goers easy access to the venues. Local food vendors and independent eateries like Rojo, Bottletree Cafe, and Cosmo’s Pizza are nearby and Birmingham’s newest brewery, Good People Brewing Company, will host Saturday night’s Beer and BBQ Bash.

Since I’ve attended for many years, I have to say that Sidewalk’s ability to expand and grow while still making a point to integrate and highlight Southern charm makes it a rare gem in the festival world. It’s definitely one to keep your eye on.

For ticket information and a full list of this year’s line-up, visit www.sidewalkfest.com.

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