Established in 1999 as the flagship program of the Sidewalk Film Center + 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 350 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 the return of our Sidewrite Competition for 2020. 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)

JURY AND PROGRAMMER'S AWARDS
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

AUDIENCE AWARDS
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 Black Lens Film $250

SCREENPLAY AWARDS
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.

ELIGIBILITY
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, 2019.

Exhibiting films publicly in the Greater Birmingham Metropolitan Area prior to or within one week after the 2020 festival dates will prevent your film from competing in the 2020 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, 2020, please indicate such when entering. The availability of your film prior to August 24, 2020, 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.

EXHIBITION AGREEMENT & PRINT TRAFFIC
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 August 6, 2020. 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.

DEFINITIONS & DISCOUNTS
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 Rachel Morgan at rachel@sidewalkfest.com.

SWALUMNI20: 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).

ALABAMA20: $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
Quality
Value
Communication
Hospitality
Networking
  • Daniel Kiwacka

    Everyone we met was extremely friendly and inviting and extremely hospitable. All of the events were well done and a pleasure to attend and each of the screening venues that we went to were clean and well done! Will definitely be submitting to this festival again!

    September 2019
  • Donna Wheeler

    Thrilled and honored to be among the Finalists at this year's SFF. Thank you everyone at the Festival for the reliable communications, inclusion of my work, and the recognition among so many outstanding projects and voices!

    September 2019
  • Kent Green

    I sent a short script in. I received great judge's feedback that I have already applied to my screenplay. The festival also opened up a networking opportunity for me that wouldn't have happened without Sidewalk. Finally, Kiwi, the Shorts Programmer, answered several questions for me and her hospitality and professionalism was much appreciated! Thank you, Sidewalk Film Festival!!

    September 2019
  • Debby Huvaere

    I didn't attend the festival, but was honored to have my short screenplay listed as a finalist in the Screenplay competition. Will definitely submit again, and hopefully attend in the future!

    September 2019
  • Jamel Lajuan

    This is great festival and arguably the best film festival in the South. It’s even better that’s it’s in my hometown. If there was one thing I’d say can be better, it’s how they communicate about the tickets. My showing would have been packed out, but I got many messages from people thinking it was sold out. I even walked to front prior to my screening and heard people at door thinking my film was sold out and the ushers had to correct them. Maybe the website shouldn’t say “sold out” for films but just direct people to the next tier or use a different wording. But this is a very minor compared to my overall experience at festival. Special thanks to all the volunteers.

    September 2019