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 2019 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 table read opportunities during the festival weekend and are able to apply for travel assistance to attend. 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
Kathryn Tucker Windham Storytelling Award (Shorts) $250
Best Student Film $250
Best Family Film $250
Alan Hunter Best Alabama Film $500
Best SHOUT Feature $500
Best SHOUT Short $250
Feature Programmers' Award $500
Short Programmers' Award $250
Best Life & Liberty Film $250
Best Black Lens Film $250

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 (Feature or Short) $250

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

*The jury, at their discretion, may choose to award a special jury prize, honorable mention, etc. These prizes/mentions DO NOT include either a cash award, a physical award (trophy, plaque, etc), or prizewinner's laurels.

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, 2017.

Exhibiting films publicly in the Greater Birmingham Metropolitan Area prior to or within one week after the 2019 festival dates will prevent your film from competing in the 2019 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 23, 2019, please indicate such when entering. The availability of your film prior to August 23, 2019, 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.

Questions regarding discount codes and other waiver requests should be directed to Kiwi Lanier at or Rachel Morgan at

SWALUMNI19: 50% off submission fee 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 (1999-2018).

ALABAMA19: $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
  • Incredible experience! They made it so easy to get around to each of the events with the filmmaker pass vans. The Sheraton is about 6-8 blocks (20 min walk) from the festivities so even if you didn't make the van, you can still walk and it wasn't too bad. The staff was so friendly and helpful. One of the drivers even came to my screening after he worked a full shift! Sponsored parties, amazing films, great discussions. All of the events made it easy to bond with fellow filmmakers. I can't wait to come back next time!!! A piece of advice: I didn't know that they were doing an actual legit Award Ceremony at the end of the festival where you have the opportunity to make a speech. I was sure I wasn't going to win anything so I got a little drunk beforehand. As luck would have it, I won Best SHOUT Short and had to get on stage (Ha!) I don't remember what I said, so maybe go easy on the booze until the after party...

    October 2018
  • kyle roberts

    Sidewalk Film Festival is still one of my favorite in the country. Nice, gunuine staff and great films/filmmakers every year!

    September 2018
  • Theodore Collatos

    Can't say enough good things about Sidewalk Film Festival. Programming impeccable mixed with epic hospitality.

    September 2018
  • James Radford

    We had a lot of fun here. Downtown Birmingham is very cool. The perks for filmmakers were awesome!

    September 2018
  • Evan Kidd

    This is one of the best film festivals in the South East let alone the country. Absolutely loved attending the 2018 Sidewalk Film Festival with my short documentary We Lived the Blues. The staff were incredibly accommodating and truly seemed to care about the screenings they put on. Additionally the networking was great, and so many kind people make this a repeater!

    September 2018