Newspaper article The Tuscaloosa News

Sidewalk Film Fest Returns to Magic City This Weekend

Newspaper article The Tuscaloosa News

Sidewalk Film Fest Returns to Magic City This Weekend

Article excerpt

The Magic City has the perfect rejoinder to "Hollywood is soooo derivative/repetitive/unimaginative" this weekend, with the 17th annual Sidewalk Film Festival.

The answer: Not all film is made in Hollywood, and not everything in the movies comes to your multiplex.

Whether you're a casual filmgoer who's heard whispers of that wide world outside the mainstream, a one-time movie fan burned by too many mismatched buddy-cop-lover-superhero extravaganzas, or the cineaste who actually knows how to pronounce Cannes, Sidewalk can offer an

oasis, a rejuvenation of the wonders from the silver screen.

Over the three main days, Sidewalk shows more than 200 features, documentaries, shorts and more, supplemented by panels and workshops, musical performances, post-screening Q&As with filmmakers, and of course late-night parties.

It centers on downtown Birmingham's palace, the Alabama Theatre, 1817 Third Ave. N., which hosts most of the bigger features, with additional showings at the nearby Carver Theatre, 1631 Fourth Ave. N.; Red Mountain Theatre Co., 301 19th St. N.; Alabama School of Fine Arts, 1800 Reverend Abraham Woods Jr. Blvd.; and the Rushton Theatre at McWane Center, 200 19th St. N., adjacent to the Alabama.

In its now-17 years, Sidewalk has grown beyond the weekend festival, into a screenplay competition, workshops, networking events and the Sidewalk Scramble, a 48-hour filmmaking contest.

But for this weekend, it's what MovieMaker magazine picked as one of its Top 25 Coolest Film Festivals in the World last year, with similar accolades from USA Today and Time Magazine. Though not on the path of some who traverse Sundance, Tribeca or even South by Southwest, Sidewalk continues to draw raves for the density of its jam-packed weekend, along with, of course, the warmth and hospitality.

Indie darling Jay Duplass, of the indie hits "The Puffy Chair" and "Baghead," who with his brother Mark Duplass has broken into widescreen releases with acclaimed films such as "Cyrus" and "Jeff, Who Lives At Home," said of the festival: "I'm already bragging about you to everyone. Seriously, you have some magic going on down there and I will encourage everyone I know to check it out. …

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