Established in 1999 as the flagship program of the Sidewalk Film Center and Cinema, Sidewalk Film Festival has perfected its own personal trifecta of quality film programming, filmmaker networking, and pure fun. Repeatedly recognized by MovieMaker Magazine as one of the Top 25 Festivals in the World and by TIME Magazine as one of the Top 10 Festivals for the Rest of Us, Sidewalk annually brings over 200 films to The Magic City. Low-priced passes, a concentrated footprint, and Southern Hospitality encourage filmmakers and attendees alike to connect during the festival week.

Sidewalk actively strives to bring a variety of film to its audience. To that end, we are pleased to highlight civil and social issues in our Life & Liberty track, diversity-related topics and black filmmakers in our Black Lens track, LGBTQ filmmakers and content with our SHOUT track, and family-friendly programming with our Family Festival track. As an Alabama festival in a city with multiple universities, we also spotlight our Alabama filmmakers and our student filmmakers.

Sidewalk is also pleased to announce our 2018 Sidewrite Competition. With categories for feature length screenplays, short screenplays, and Alabama screenplays, Sidewalk is looking for innovative and exciting scripts to recognize. In addition to cash prizes, winners are offered travel assistance and table read opportunities during the festival weekend. Winning scripts are announced approximately one month prior to the festival event date. Sidewalk also offers a screenplay category that provides feedback on any submitted screenplay. Please use the Screenplay + Feedback category for this option.

Praise for Sidewalk:

MovieMaker Magazine: "Top 50 Festivals Worth the Entry Fee" (2017, 2016)
The Washington Post: "Summer Preview" film festival (2015)
MovieMaker magazine: “The 25 Coolest Film Festivals in the World” (2015, 2014)
USA TODAY: "One of the Top 10 Places for a Fabulous Film Festival” (2013)
TIME Magazine: "Top 10 Festivals for the Rest of Us" (2006)

Jambor-Franklin Founders Award for Best Narrative Feature $1,000
Best Documentary Feature $1,000
Best Narrative Short $500
Best Documentary Short $500
Best Animated Short $250
Best Shout Feature Film $250
Best Shout Short Film $150
Kathryn Tucker Windham Storytelling Award $1000
Best Student Film $250
Alan Hunter Best Alabama Film $500

Best Narrative Feature $250
Best Documentary Feature $250
Best Narrative Short $150
Best Documentary Short $150
Best Shout Film (Feature or Short) $250
Best Alabama Film $250

Best Feature Screenplay $500
Best Short Screenplay $250
Best Alabama Screenplay $250

Feature Programmers' Award $500
Short Programmers' Award $250

Entrants warrant that they have the legal right to submit the work to Sidewalk, that all statements made in this application are true and accurate, and that all necessary rights and clearances have been secured to screen the work at the festival. Due to potential copyright issues, Sidewalk will be unable to consider fan fiction/fan films without express written permission from the primary copyright holder. Sidewalk reserves the right to determine the final eligibility of any work submitted. Eligible works must have been completed after January 1, 2016.

Exhibiting films publicly in the Greater Birmingham Metropolitan Area prior to or within one week after the 2018 festival dates will prevent your film from competing in the 2018 Sidewalk Film Festival and may prevent the film from being accepted to the Festival. This includes projects available on the web. Work accepted to screen at the Festival will be categorized in competitive and non-competitive categories at the sole discretion of Sidewalk. If your submission will be available through a video on demand (VOD) or pay-per-view (PPV) service of any kind, on or before August 24, 2018, please indicate such when entering. The availability of your film prior to August 24, 2018, through such a service will make the film ineligible for competition and may or may not, prevent the film from being programmed. Availability through such a service will be considered during the programming process and may impact programming decisions. However, decisions regarding programming films that have been screened elsewhere and/or are available through a video on demand service, pay-per-view service and/or any other service, venue, channel, theater or otherwise are solely up to the Sidewalk Film Festival staff.

Submission to the Sidewalk Film Festival ("Sidewalk") constitutes an agreement with all festival terms and conditions, and permission to exhibit the work during the festival if selected. Sidewalk DOES NOT provide screening fees to submitted films.

If a film is accepted, entrant agrees to ship exhibition materials to the festival at their own expense, to arrive at the Sidewalk office by Monday, August 6, 2018. Sidewalk can only provide return shipping via ground delivery within the continental United States. Although every possible care will be taken with exhibition material in our possession, neither Sidewalk nor the Sidewalk Film Center and Cinema, Inc. accepts responsibility for loss or damage. Entry fees are non-refundable.

Below are available discount codes. Only one discount may be used. Use only an applicable discount. If you misuse these codes, you will be automatically disqualified without refund.

SWALUMN18: $5 discount for returning Sidewalk Alumni. A Sidewalk Alumni includes an Above The Line filmmaker (Director, Writer, Producer, Editor, Actor in a starring role) who has screened their film at the Sidewalk Film Festival in a previous year (1999-2017).

SWSTUDENT18: $5 discount for student films. A Student Film includes films produced or directed by individuals who are enrolled in school (college or graduate level) and carry a valid student ID at the time of the film’s production.

ALABAMA18: $5 discount for Alabama-produced films or screenplays. Alabama Productions include films that have been fully or partially filmed in Alabama and/or fully or partially produced in the state of Alabama. Partial Alabama productions must include at least 1 scene filmed in Alabama and/or at least 20% of the total budget spent in the state of Alabama. Alternatively a film that has the participation of at least 1 above the line filmmaker (Director, Writer, Producer, Editor, Actor in a starring role) that currently lives in the State of Alabama and/or is an Alabama native can be considered an Alabama film. Alabama scripts include screenplays where a credited screenwriter that currently lives in the State of Alabama and/or is an Alabama native.

Overall Rating
  • I'm a native of Birmingham, AL so I've been to Sidewalk Film Festival before. It was great to have both of my films in the festival. It's a great festival and a dope city.

    October 2017
  • Caroline Golum

    Truly, there is no finer and funner place to have a world premiere than at Sidewalk. The festival is jam-packed with excellent films, and the festival staff are helpful and friendly. Birmingham is a beautiful city, and screening our film for such a receptive audience is an experience I won't soon forget!

    September 2017
  • Martha Gorzycki

    There are not enough stars to select here. Sidewalk is the best festival I have ever attended. The communication is fantastic, hospitality amazing, selection of films evocative and entertaining, parties and networking are above and beyond. It is great this festival has a robust LGBTQ component. Sidewalk is exceptionally well organized (very seasoned producers!). An amazing 500+ volunteers treat you right; they are always cheerful and happy to help. This is a festival that celebrates independent filmmakers to the hilt! Love the playfulness of staff and organizers during screenings and the award ceremony. Fun, fun, fun, fun, thank you all for a fantastic festival experience!!

    September 2017
  • Thom Kuo

    Really nice people run this festival. Thank you so much!

    September 2017
  • Steve N Bradford

    This was my first time at Sidewalk and I had a fantastic time. I made a ton of new filmmaker friends and the parties they threw were fantastic. Their hospitality team was absolutely top notch, for filmmakers there was virtually always a place to relax with something to munch on and to drink (alcoholic and otherwise). The giant bouncy house party Saturday night was pretty spectacular.

    They draw a big crowd, but cross your fingers that you don't get stuck in one of the morning screening slots. I was still very pleased with the turnout even at 10:30am, but I could tell that the middle of the day was more prime time for folks to come and see films.

    I loved how much the Birmingham community was present and involved in the festival, it wasn't just a bunch of film makers hanging out, it was definitely tons of local folks too, and as much as I love showing my film to other film people, the goal is to get it in front of regular people right? So definitely come attend if you get in.

    September 2017