The 13th annual Sidewalk Film Festival will take place next weekend in Birmingham. Always love spending the weekend downtown gorging myself on independent films. I always have a blast! Looking at this year’s schedule, here are the films that interest me the most:
- The Innkeepers – Alabama Theater – 8pm – Film is about a couple of hotel clerks that hope to launch a ghost hunter website based on paranormal activity at the hotel. Co-stars Kelly McGillis of Top Gun fame. Directed by Ti West, who also directed House Of The Devil which won Best Narrative at Sidewalk in 2009. I saw that film and wasn’t as impressed. But this sounds like it could be fun.
- American Decaf – Red Mountain Cabaret Theater – 10:15am – The premise is simple. A day without coffee. So much potential. It’s a dramedy, but apparently more comedy than drama, which is a good thing.
- Leaving Selma – Carver Theater – 10:20am – Documentary chronicling the peaceful demonstrators that were attacked and beaten by Alabama state troopers during the Selma to Montgomery Civil Rights march in 1965. An ugly time in this state.
- Holy Rollers: The True Story Of Card Counting Christians – Red Mountain Cabaret Theater – 12:30pm – Documentary featuring a team of Christians who use card counting to win big at casinos in blackjack. Apparently they see the casinos as evil, so if they take them to the cleaners, good wins. Of course, casinos frown on card counting, so it’s hard to get a seat at the table if they know you practice that. That’s why they resort to disguises.
- The Greater Good – Hill Event Center – 2:55pm – Documentary examining the children immunization “debate”. May watch this for kicks, as it appears to have been made from the anti-immunization crackpots point of view.
- Vacation! – Red Mountain Cabaret Theater – 4:55pm – Four ex-college girlfriends reunite for a beach trip that takes a “dark turn” and things get a “little crazy”. Sounds like a cheesy thriller. Also, they are promising a blender scene that “you will not soon forget”. Color me intrigued!
- You’ve Been Trumped – Hill Event Center – 5:00pm – Documentary that reveals that Donald Trump is a jackass. Not exactly groundbreaking. Apparently in this case, Trump has bought some environmentally sensitive land in Scotland so that he can turn them until hotels and golf courses which will fail (ok, I added the part about failing, but that is what Trump projects do). Some residents try to fight back, which brings out Trump’s full jackassery (it doesn’t take much).
- Helldriver – Carver Theater – 7:30pm- Japanese horror featuring a girl armed with a chainsaw sword who must defeat the Zombie Queen and her zombie subjects from taking over Tokyo. This one is produced by Sushi Typhoon, which also produce Mutant Girls Squad which was shown at last year’s Sidewalk. I originally planned on watching that one last year, but decided on Dogtooth instead. I wished I had stuck to the original plan (though Dogtooth went on to be nominated for a Best Foreign Language Film Oscar, it was way too disturbing for my tastes).
- Goonies – Sidewalk Central – 8:45pm – Free Outdoor Screening – Obviously not an independent film, but it’s the Goonies! That’s awesome! Truffle Shuffle anyone? I said do it!
- Sahkanaga – Alabama Power – 12:30pm – Based on the true story of the discovery of hundreds of bodies at a Georgia crematory. Filmed entirely in Walker County in Alabama.
- Senna – Alabama Theater – 3:40pm – Documentary about Formula-1 racing legend Ayrton Senna. I’ve seen the critics raving about this one, supposedly it’s worth watching even if you are not a racing fan.
- Wuss – Alabama Power – 7:15pm – C’mon, it’s a movie actually called “Wuss”. I have to see this! Described as a movie about a substitute teacher who lives with his mother and plays Dungeons and Dragons in his spare time. He apparently has a run-in with a thug named “Re-up” and things get “crazy”. Also says it’s a “darkly hilarious drama-action-comedy”. Seems like my kind of film!
This is just a few of the over 200 movies that will be screening over the weekend. Plus you have live musical entertainment at Sidewalk Central. And the free Family Film Festival at the McWane Center. Plus you have the Birmingham Shout Gay & Lesbian Film Festival going on at the same time using the same venues. So I’m pretty sure they have everyone covered. If you live are will be in the Birmingham area next weekend, I highly recommend hitting this event up!
- Ti West’s The Innkeepers to Open Sidewalk Moving Picture Festival (dreadcentral.com)