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 250 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 thrilled 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.

Official 2021 Festival Recap Video here:

Sidewalk is pleased to announce the return of our Sidewrite Competition for 2023. 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: "20 Great Film Festivals For First Time Moviemakers" (2022)
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 Film $250
Best Student Film $250
Best Family Film $250
Alan Hunter Best Alabama Film $500
Best SHOUT Feature $500
Best SHOUT Short $250
Best Black Lens Feature $250
Best Black Lens Short $250
Best Life & Liberty Film $250
Feature Programmers' Award $500
Short Programmers' Award $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 Black Lens 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, 2022.

Exhibiting films publicly in the Greater Birmingham Metropolitan Area prior to or within one week after the 2023 festival dates will prevent your film from competing in the 2023 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 22, 2023, please indicate such when entering. The availability of your film prior to August 22, 2023, 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 August 10th, 2023. 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.


ALABAMA23: A 30% discount for Alabama-produced films or screenplays. Alabama Productions include films that have been fully or partially filmed and/or 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. If you misuse this code, you will be automatically disqualified without refund.

All questions regarding discount codes and other waiver requests should be directed to Rachel Morgan at

Overall Rating
  • This is an AMAZING festival! My film has gotten into 35 festivals and this festival is top 5. The seats in every screening are packed, and the networking opportunities are abundant. It is incredible to see the community come out to experience the festival. There was a block party, roller skating disco night, a filmmaker's lounge, and a trip to the sloss factory for learning some local culture - what more could you ask for??

    February 2023
  • It was a thrill to have our music video selected and to attend the Sidewalk Film Festival. The communication by the festival organizers, the warm hospitality, and ample networking opportunities were all top notch — and the Sidewalk volunteers are so friendly and helpful! We met lots of other filmmakers, and the historic theaters and venues were outstanding. We loved attending the festival and plan to enter again. The Sidewalk Film Festival is a gem, and I highly recommend it.

    November 2022
  • Erik Odom

    Sidewalk’s reputation is real. It's a wonderful festival with wonderful people. We premiered our film “Box on the Hill” there this year and were in great hands every step of the way, from scheduling to asset delivery to the screening itself. While we weren’t able to attend in person, we were able to connect with filmmakers in our short block online after. Can’t wait to have more films there (and attend) in the future!

    November 2022
  • Marcus January

    Sidewalk 2022 was an amazing experience throughout the week! I got the opportunity to network with some amazing people and watch some awesome films. My only wish is that there was a way to have our films play twice through to week so that more people have the chance to see them.

    October 2022
  • What an incredible festival! We were so blown away by the welcoming environment we experienced. The events were all within an easily walkable distance from one another and the parties were so incredibly fun. Tha k you for having us! It was an absolute added perk of winning an a programmers award for our film that we were completley not expecting.

    September 2022