Hello all, we’re about a week away from one of my favorite weekends on Birmingham’s cultural calendar every year. Yep! Sidewalk Film Festival is back for its FIFTEENTH year. This is a great milestone for the festival and the City of Birmingham. I enjoy this festival every year and it’s always a fantastic feather in our city’s cap when we’re bragging about it to our out of town relatives, or anyone else that ever asks if we’re scared to walk around downtown.
There are some many great films showing this year (including the opening night film about internet sensation/cutest cat alive, Lil Bub) that there is no hope of me writing about each of them. Instead, I’ve decided to narrow it down to the three films I am most excited by. No surprise, they’re all music documentaries. I hope everyone gets a chance to make it down to the festival this year and enjoy everything Sidewalk and downtown have to offer.
Muscle Shoals (2013) – This film focuses on a tiny town in Northeast Alabama that has made a gigantic impact on the music would. Seriously, there isn’t much of a way to overstate the importance of Muscle Shoals. I mean, shit, The Stones recorded fucking “Wild Horses” there. WILD HORSES. Skynyrd name dropped the Shoals and its famous house band in “Sweet Home Alabama”. And that’s not even getting into Otis, Aretha, Wilson Pickett, Percy Sledge, Eddie Hinton, Cher and countless others (most recently Band of Horses, and The Black Keys). The film focuses on FAME Studios and Muscle Shoals Sound Studio. The two homes of the “Muscle Shoals Sound”. This film will serve as an education into both music, and Alabama history. So you should definitely make plans to check it out. Saturday, August 24th – 6pm – Alabama Theatre
The Punk Singer (2013) – A documentary about Kathleen Hanna, singer of the seminal Riot Grrrl band Bikini Kill, and dance punk group Le Tigre. The documentary tracks through 20 years of footage and showcases the influence and trail blazing of this feminist punk icon. I think it’s pretty great that this made it into the festival this year. Last year, I was very touched by the G.L.O.W. documentary, and I’m expecting to be just as just as inspired and moved by this one. A must see for any fans of punk music, no matter their gender. Saturday, August 24th – 4pm – AFSA Dorothy Jemison Day Theatre
Antenna (2012) – This honestly might be the music documentary I’m most excited about, because I know the least about the subject. This is a documentary specifically about The Antenna Club in Memphis, Tenn. This club has been closed for a long, long time, but it hosted incredible bands like The Replacements, Bad Brains, R.E.M., Black Flag, The Minutemen, and basically every other punk and college rock band in the 80s. From watching the trailer, the venue looks similar to our own “The Nick”. I’m excited to hear stories from the long list of artists that are featured in the film, as well as tales about punk in the South. Sunday, August 25th – 7pm – ASFA Lecture Hall
Sidewalk Film Festival weekend passes, single day tickets, and premium single film tickets are on sale now at www.Sidewalkfest.com