Monday, August 29, 2016

Sidewalk Film Festival 2016

This past weekend was one for the books! I actually think I need a weekend to recover from this one. Not only did I get to see Drake in ATL on Friday night (amazing!) but Atlanta was only a short visit and it was back to Bham since Saturday and Sunday were booked up for the 18th annual Sidewalk Film Festival! As you may know I love movies and this is the perfect way to see indies, local and even some I probably would never check out if they weren't at the festival!

This was my second year at Sidewalk and like last year I opted for the VIP Pass, it can get pricy as the festival gets closer so I recommend purchasing yours earlier rather than later. They also have weekend passes as well as single day passes you can purchase as well. I like VIP because it guarantees you get into each film, front of the line access, free snacks, VIP lounge and is an overall good deal.  For the least expensive price on any tickets be sure to buy early!
Getting Around
Everything is pretty much within walking distance of each other, there are several venues to watch each film so check your program and see which spots you will be in. I always like to park in the lot across from the Alabama Theater, it cost $10 but it is very convenient plus safe! There are signs along the way to direct you and if you don't feel like walking to the venues there are trams and bicycles for you free of charge. We felt safe the entire weekend and there was a good amount of security but as with any bigger city or any event for that matter be aware of your surroundings, pay attention and be smart.
VIP Lounge

One cool thing that is included with the VIP pass is the lounge. This year's was really well done! Light snacks since it was super hot outside, drinks (alcoholic and non-alcoholic) and you got to be in the air condition for a bit if you needed a break from the walking!

Oh and they even had massages! The lovely ladies from the Aveda Institutes South were giving free neck, back and hand massages. Let me tell you the neck massage was a God-send after craning my neck for a few hours at films (I know such a hard life #firstworldproblems) but I have such a bad neck and back from my former cheerleading days that it was heavenly! You also got a card for a free massage at their spa for the future which will definitely be put to use.

Films, Food and More
When you get your event guide be sure to look it over and start selecting which films are your "must-see" now when you are in a group things can get a bit more complicated. Odds are that not everyone is going to like the same things so I think it's best to compromise and have each person pick at least one film that is their "must". Or you can always split up and meet up before another film, it's up to you! And if all of your group wants to see the same films then snaps to you because you've made you life easy (yay).
Film festivals like Sidewalk are the perfect way to see some great documentaries (Chicken People, it's legit a thing), beautiful cinematography (The Love Witch), brilliant style pieces (Cheerleader, maybe my favorite film of the fest), and fantastic indies (the terrific Morris Comes to America). I also love the short films! Especially the horror shorts, it's great seeing lots of film styles in a short time and you get more than one story so you feel like you are experiencing more.
If you get hungry there are tons of food trucks (shout out to Big Spoon Creamery and Mimi's Soda) as well as your standard movie theater snacks in each venue! I would recommend brining cash since a lot of the theaters are older so it's easier to pay cash plus with food trucks, theaters, etc. you never know if the system might go down so keep cash handy!

What to Wear
You will be sitting down. A lot. You will be walking in the heat a lot of the time in between films so dress comfortably! This is not the time for that form fitting bodycon dress (save that for next weekend) but breezy sundresses, sandals, tees and tennis are my go to! Guys if you are reading just stick with shorts, jeans and tees. Everyone just needs to be comfortable so they can enjoy the movies! And so you can eat your popcorn and milk duds with no remorse or shame.

Final Thoughts

Birmingham has come such a long way in the past couple of years and events like Sidewalk are drawing in more people than ever. The event is well priced, unique, and fun for those that live here and those that are traveling just for the festival. Trust me you won't be disappointed! Very well organized, safe, and it offers a bit of a break on an otherwise monotonous August weekend. I highly recommend Sidewalk!

For more information on next year's event click here! Start making your preparations now!

Are there any film festivals in your area? Which ones do I need to visit? Let me know!

Happy Film Watching!


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