Sidewalk Film Festival announced the award winners for the 22nd edition and all Drive-In version of the Birmingham-based film festival which concluded on Sunday, August 30. Jury awards were led by Dusty Bias’ THE IMMORTAL JELLYFISH, which received the Jambor-Franklin Founders Award for Best Narrative Feature, and Arthur Jones’ FEELS GOOD MAN, which was named Best Documentary Feature. Both films received a $1000 cash prize along with their award. The audience awards were topped by David Midell’s THE KILLING OF KENNETH CHAMBERLAIN for Best Narrative Feature, and Sharon Liese’s TRANSHOOD for Best Documentary Feature.
Other big winners included; Bradford Thomason and Brett Whitcomb’s documentary JASPER MALL, which doubled up with the jury’s Alan Hunter Best Alabama Feature (and a $500 cash prize), and the Audience Award for Best Alabama Film; Sharon Liese’s TRANSHOOD, which duplicated that take by winning the jury’s favor as the Best SHOUT Feature (and $500 cash prize) and the Audience Award for Best Documentary Feature; Ondi Timoner’s documentary COMING CLEAN, which received awards for Best Life & Liberty Film (and a cash prize of $250) and a Special Jury Prize for Editing, which Timoner shared with co-editor Gary Pollak; and Loki Mulholland’s AFTER SELMA, which was the Audience Choice for Best Black Lens Film and received an Honorable Mention from the jury as a “Must See Film.”
Sidewalk Film Festival Creative Director and Lead Programmer, Rachel Morgan, said “I’m super proud of Sidewalk and all of our amazing festival-goers for successfully and safely pulling off a 100% Drive-In festival during this very strange and complicated 2020 festival season. We were able to deliver a little of the magic of Sidewalk despite the odds not being in our favor and that alone is success. Our audiences were excited and respectful and we somehow managed to have almost perfect weather throughout the week despite the threat of double hurricanes. I can’t thank the Sidewalk 2020 filmmakers enough for sharing their films with us and trusting us to make the festival happen safely. All the films in the line-up deserved to win, but so many cheers and congratulations to those who did. Can’t wait for Sidewalk 2021!”
Additional feature film jury awards included; Grear Patterson’s GIANTS BEING LONELY winning the Feature Programmers’ Award (and $500 cash prize); Krisha Fairchild receiving an Honorable Mention for her performance in Kate McLean and Mario Furloni’s FREELAND; Regina Hoyles’ ADULLAM named as the Best Black Lens Film, and Elisha Williams receiving the Black Lens Grant of $1000 (Sponsored by The Law Firm of Stacey A. Davis.).
Short films receiving jury awards included; Chris Beier’s PUBLIC LOT, which won Best Narrative Short (and a cash prize of $500); Kristy Choi’s CONVICTION, which won Best Documentary Short (and a cash prize of $500); and Will McCormack and Michael Govier’s IF ANYTHING HAPPENS I LOVE YOU, which won the Best Animated Short Award (and cash prize of $250). Honorable Mentions went to both Tal Amiran’s DAFA METTI, and Kira Dane and Katelyn Rebelo’s MIZUKO. Also honored were A.F. Madison’s DOODLE, which received an Honorable Mention in the Alabama Films category for both “Outstanding Performance” (Virginia Newcomb) and for “Strength in Short-Form Storytelling.” Honora Talbott’s VOTE NEIL was named best SHOUT Short (which came with a $250 cash prize, and Brandon Winters’ WE received a Special Jury Mention in the SHOUT category.
Student Films that were honored included; Rico Shay’s SLAVE 2, which won Best Student Film (and a $250 cash prize); and Director/Editor Chris Chaei’s LUNAR POWERS, which received an Honorable Mention for “Creativity in Editing.” In the Family Films category, Verena Fels’ TOBI AND THE TURBOBUS was cited as Best Family Film (and received a $250 cash prize); and Richard O’Connor’s THE TREASURES OF MRS. GRADY’S LIBRARY received an Honorable Mention. The Sidewrite Screenplay Competition winners were “Riding Shotgun” by Nafi Ayvaci (Best Feature Screenplay), “The Sympathetic Martian” by Scott Turner and Jim Torres (Best Alabama Screenplay), and “Lab Partners” by Tommy Britt (Best Short Screenplay).
The impressive roster of 2020 Sidewalk Film Festival jury members included; Oxford Film Festival’s Executive Director Melanie Addington (Family Films, Alabama Films); Indie Memphis Film Festival’s Artistic Director Miriam Bale (Narrative Features, Black Lens); ”Getting On” actor Verton R. Banks (Shout, Black Lens); ICEPICK TO THE MOON director Skizz Cyzyk (Documentary features); SAGIndie Executive Director Darrien Michele Gipson (Shorts, Black Lens); “Good Vibes” writer Becca Greene (Shorts); Honolulu Rainbow Film Festival curator Andrea Krauss (SHOUT, Family Films); Atlanta Film Society Associate Director Cameron McAllister (Documentary Features); “BH90210” actor Christine Elise McCarthy (Narrative Features); “Queen Sugar” director Rachel Raimist (Documentary Features, Alabama Films); LITTLE SISTER producer Melodie Sisk (Narrative Features); THE LADIES OF THE HOUSE actor/producer Farah White (Shorts); and Indie Memphis Senior programmer/Director of Operations Brighid Wheeler.
Additional Audience Awards went to; Annie Funderburk’s A SHORT STORY ABOUT THE LIFE OF ELISE for Best SHOUT Film; Chris Chaei’s LUNAR POWERS for Best Narrative Short; and
Michael Toledano and Sam Vinal‘s INVASION: UNIST’OT’EN’S FIGHT for Best Documentary Short.
More than 7000 people attended the screenings – many of which quickly reached capacity due to the limit on the number of cars allowed at The Grand River Drive-In at The Backyard in Leeds, making this year’s event the largest film festival in the country to present all of their films at the drive-in. Sidewalk, known nationally for its inventive screening presentations and events, bucked the trend toward virtual presentations due to the pandemic. With 163 films (41 features, 122 shorts) and 23 music videos, the film festival packed an ambitious slate into 7 days and 4 outdoor screens.
Sidewalk Film Festival Executive Director Chloe Cook said, “I’m thrilled we were able to host our annual Festival, albeit in an alternative location and minus our signature social events. I’m sure it’s remarkable to anyone not familiar with Sidewalk, our amazing staff, and the enthusiastic response we receive each year from our audiences that we via those 4 outdoor screens we were able to showcase the work of more than 150 filmmakers and celebrate indie cinema in such a fun way, but that is what Sidewalk is all about. We are honored that filmmakers continue to share their work with us and we’re looking forward to 2021!”
Sidewalk opened on Monday, August 24 with an Opening Night Extravaganza that lived up to its name including presentations of Aurélia Rouvier and Seamus Haley’s BANKSY MOST WANTED, a special preview screening of Giuseppe Capotondi’s THE BURNT ORANGE HERESY, critically-acclaimed indie director Kelly Reichardt’s FIRST COW, and – as if that weren’t enough – a “back to the 80’s” double feature of TEEN WOLF (1985) with Michael J. Fox, and TEEN WITCH (1989) with Robyn Lively which included a special appearance of a certain festival creative director in Teen Wolf garb.
Additional highlights included film festival circuit award winners like Alice Gu’s THE DONUT KING, Midell’s THE KILLING OF KENNETH CHAMBERLAIN, and high-interest titles like celebrated documentary director Ondi Timoner’s latest, COMING CLEAN, Kate McLean and Mario Furloni’s drama FREELAND, starring indie-sensation Krisha Fairchild, and Amy Seimetz’ SHE DIES TOMORROW. Sidewalk Film Festival’s SHOUT selections, always a reliable critical and audience favorite was highlighted by Colvin’s A DIM VALLEY, Pablo Larrain’s Chilian drama EMA, and Sharon Liese’s documentary TRANSHOOD.
Embracing the storied Drive-In culture, yet spicing it up, Morgan and the Sidewalk programming team offered films and film events like the 30th Anniversary screening of Jennie Livingston’s PARIS IS BURNING; as well as EVERYTHING IS TERRIBLE: DOGGIEWOGGIEZ POOCHIEWOOCHIEZ, a special Sing-Along version of YELLOW SUBMARINE (SING-ALONG VERSION), and the film festival’s traditional SATURDAY MORNING NIGHT CARTOONS presentation, and audiences that turned out to see Richard Kelly’s supreme mindbender DONNIE DARKO also were present for a live sighting of the otherworldly and creepy bunny-man from the film.
Additional details as well as information on upcoming events and screenings can be found at sidewalkfest.com.
STUDENT AND FAMILY FILMS
Best Student Film ($250) – Slave 2
Student Film Honorable Mention for Creativity in Editing – Lunar Powers
Best Family Film ($250) – Tobi and the Turbobus
Family Film Honorable Mention – The Treasures of Mrs. Grady’s Library
Best Black Lens Film ($250) – Adullam
Honorable Mention for Black Lens as a Must-See Film – After Selma
Black Lens Filmmaker Grant Recipient ($1,000) – Elisha Williams
The Black Lens Filmmaker Grant is sponsored by The Law Firm of Stacey A. Davis.
Alan Hunter Best Alabama Feature ($500) – Jasper Mall
Honorable Mention for Outstanding Performance (Virginia Newcomb) and for Strength in Short-Form Storytelling – Doodle
Best SHOUT Feature ($500) – Transhood
Best SHOUT Short ($250) – Vote Neil
Special SHOUT Jury Mention – We
Best Documentary Feature ($1,000) – Feels Good Man
Special Jury Prize for Editing – Coming Clean
Jambor-Franklin Founders’ Award for Best Narrative Feature ($500) – The Immortal Jellyfish
Honorable Mention for Outstanding Performance (Krisha Fairchild) – Freeland
Feature Programmers’ Award ($500) – Giants Being Lonely
Best Life & Liberty Film ($250) – Coming Clean
Spirit of Sidewalk Award – Suzi Quatro
Best Narrative Short ($500) – Public Lot
Best Documentary Short ($500) – Conviction
Best Animated Short ($250) – If Anything Happens I Love You
Reel South SHORT Award ($1,000) – Coup d’Etat Math
Kathryn Tucker Windham Storytelling Award ($250) – Tantalization
Shorts Programmers’ Award ($250) – Good Guy With A Gun
Shorts Honorable Mention – Dafa Metti
Shorts Honorable Mention – Mizuko
Best Narrative Feature ($250) – The Killing of Kenneth Chamberlain
Best Documentary Feature ($250) – Transhood
Best Narrative Short ($150) – Lunar Powers
Best Documentary Short ($150) – Invasion: the Unis’tot’en’s fight for Sovereignty
Best Alabama Film ($150) – Jasper Mall
Best Black Lens Film ($250) – After Selma
Best SHOUT Film ($250) – A Short Story About the Life of Elise
SIDEWRITE SCREENPLAY COMPETITION AWARDS
Best Alabama Screenplay ($250) – “The Sympathetic Martian” by Scott Turner and Jim Torres
Best Short Screenplay ($250) – “Lab Partners” by Tommy Britt
Best Feature Screenplay ($500) – “Riding Shotgun” by Nafi Ayvaci