Sidewalk Film Festival 2012

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

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The 14th annual Sidewalk Moving Picture Festival, a celebration of new independent cinema in downtown Birmingham took place a couple weekends back. Since its debut in 1999, filmmakers from across the country and around the world have come to Birmingham to screen their work at Sidewalk and have been thrilled to discover fresh, enthusiastic crowds eager to devour new independent cinema. 

Damn, this year was a success. 
What a great opportunity to enjoy Birmingham's increasingly vibrant downtown area, not too mention some fabulously talented filmakers, actors & film enthusiasts. 

A few highlight from this weekend (excluding the films of course) included:
A stunning sunset from the to of the Kress Building during the VIP pre-party. 
Spontaneous appearances from Charlie Chaplin himself. 
Melodie's fantastic strawberry blonde updo! - see below. 
Breakfast feasts by ROJO & endless supplies of Avondale beer! 
Also, a few stellar new friends conveniently located throughout the states...
just incase a travel or two is booked for the future. 

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So, I can't truly vouch for the films I missed, but I will give a decent effort to list a few of my favorites, and wildly reviewed films. With some luck, you'll be able to find a few of these on NETFLIX or iTunes.
 In no particular order! 

When Simon's brother is arrested for armed robbery, he is asked to commit a string of copycat crimes in an attempt to get his brother acquitted. Caught between loyalty to his family and his own will, Simon is forced to examine his life.

The latest from Sidewalk alum Craig Zobel (The Great World of Sound) is based on the true story of a man claiming to be a cop who calls a fast-food restaurant and convinces the employees to detain and victimize one of their co-workers.

SUpporting Characters is an entertaining buddy-comedy that provides a glimpse inside movie industry while exploring human relationships and examining the familiar search for financial and romantic security. Director Dan Schechter delivers a film-centric tale that does not alienate a humorous exploration of relationship dynamics. 

There have been a number of eye-opening documentaries about the abysmal state of our food supply system over the last few years, but Eating Alabama, a new effort from University of Alabama professor Andrew Beck Grace, takes a more personal view of the problem. By making the core of the film about one pair of families’ quest to eat only food produced in Alabama for a year, Grace, who teaches a class on documentary filmmaking, makes personal an issue that can often feel distant in the urban environment of Birmingham. Eating Alabama also serves as a celebration of the people who have made a difference in the sustainable food movement, and as a kind of eulogy for the dwindling number of small farmers in the state. 

Nate is an aspiring film student on a journey of self-discovery. Margaret is kind of going through the same thing except she’s in her fifties and wants to be a stand-up comic. They are best friends and support each other through thick and thin. When Nate meets James and falls in love for the first time, their friendship is put to the test as Margaret struggles to deal with the idea that her best friend has found someone new in his life. Nate and Margaret is a sweet and fragile film about friendship, love and the idea that you’re never too young or too old to find out who you really are.

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