In its 20th year, Sidewalk Film Festival has perfected its own personal trifecta of hospitality, networking, and pure fun. Encouraging attendees to break out of their shells and get to know one another, Sidewalk likes to mix filmmakers and their audiences in an unusual town with unusual activities. The atmosphere at Sidewalk is electric with creativity and collaboration as filmmakers and film-lovers socialize between screenings and participate in panel discussions. Low-priced passes and a condensed footprint encourage filmmakers and attendees alike to connect during this 3-day, weekend festival with true southern hospitality.

Praise for Sidewalk:
USA TODAY: "One of the Top 10 Places for a Fabulous Film Festival”
MovieMaker magazine: “The 25 Coolest Film Festivals in the World”
The Washington Post: "Summer Preview" film festival
TIME Magazine: "Top 10 Festivals for the Rest of Us"

Word on the Sidewalk:
“You start to get to know about the festivals that treat filmmakers well and the ones that don’t, and Sidewalk is one of the names that always came up as far as being great to filmmakers.” Joe Swanberg

"Seriously, you guys have some magic going on down there, and I will encourage everyone I know to check it out." Jay Duplass

Awards & Prizes

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 $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 Alabama Film $250

Feature Programmers' Award $500
Short Programmers' Award $250
Best Life & Liberty Film $250

Rules & Terms

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 (1999-2016).

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. 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.

26 Reviews

Overall Rating
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    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
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    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
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    Thom Kuo

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

    September 2017
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    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
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    Benjamin Stark

    This year was my fourth year to screen a film at Sidewalk and my fifth year attending, and every visit is better than the last. Simply put, the people that put on this festival are truly eclectic and enthusiastic movie geeks that know how to throw a party and how to program a diverse weekend of films. As an Alabama filmmaker, it's great to have such a wonderful fest as the crown jewel of our moviemaking community.

    September 2017