Sidewalk is not only a place to discover new films but a place to learn about the art and process of filmmaking. All Education + Outreach standalone panels and workshops are free to the public, no pass required! This year’s 16 panels cover topics of interest to filmmakers, film lovers and everyone in between.


This year, many panels highlight the impact of storytelling. But filmmaking is also about collaborating with the communities where the film is being made.

Reimagining Southern Storytelling

Sunday, Aug. 27, 12:30-1:30 p.m.

ASFA Vulcan Materials Gallery

Join This is Alabama’s Storytellers Lab for a conversation on the importance of relationship-building in documentary filmmaking. With a behind-the-scenes look on their process, they’ll discuss strategies for impactful interviews and what it means to represent Alabamians on screen. Learn how telling stories of the South is less about talking and more about listening.

Outside Looking In: Community Storytelling

Sunday, Aug. 27, 1-2 p.m.

ASFA Lecture Hall

In 2022, Guillaume Maupin and Pablo Guarise traveled from Europe to Birmingham to do research on their documentary on Sun Ra. They were met with an outpouring of Southern hospitality. In this panel, we will learn about how the filmmakers built community connections. We’ll also learn from historians and community organizers how filmmakers can partner with communities to tell better stories.


Be sure to check out our panels and workshops that demystify filmmaking — from pitching your projects to surviving the filmmaking process.

Film is for Everyone: Getting Started in the Industry with Film Birmingham

Saturday, Aug, 26, 2:45-3:30 p.m.

ASFA Lecture Hall

The film industry is bursting with opportunities for crew members, support services and location owners. In addition to office and on-set positions, the film industry also works with frequent vendors such as hotels, office supplies, caterers and more. Productions also need locations — average and unique — for filming. These can be houses, restaurants, offices, rivers, you name it. No matter who you are and what your experience may be, there is an opportunity for you. Come find it.

Surviving Today’s Indie Film Landscape with the Team from Don’t Die

Saturday, Aug, 26, 2-3 p.m.

ASFA  Vulcan Materials Gallery

Making a movie is hard, especially when you don’t have tons of money and studio support. But independent filmmakers have always been resilient, and there are more ways than ever to make a feature film these days. In the case of Don’t Die, the movie’s title became the production team’s rallying cry. Join the producers, writers, director, and star of Don’t Die as they discuss their experience working with available resources, recruiting professional actors, writing a business plan, tracking down investors, and shooting nearby in Alabama and Tennessee, all by prioritizing people and safety first.


We also have panels for anybody and everybody, regardless of filmmaking knowledge!

Sleep In Cinema (a Substrate Radio program) presents No Longer Silent: Symbol of the Unconquered (1920)

8/26 5:45-6:45 p.m.

ASFA Lecture Hall

No Longer Silent is an opportunity to highlight significant and historic silent films

with live accompaniment from local music talent to create a one of a kind experience. This panel will consist of the first 30 minutes of the film The Symbol of the Unconquered scored and played live by Patrick Johnson, which will be followed by a discussion about the scoring process and the themes and ideas presented in the film lead by Gareth Jones.

“The Symbol of the Unconquered” unmasks the Ku Klux Klan through the story of two neighbors: Evon, a white-passing Black woman, and Hugh, a Black settler who struggles to retain possession of his land as the KKK provoke violence and intimidation. Written, produced, and directed by Oscar Micheaux.

Why We Want You to Watch Weird Movies

Sunday, Aug. 27, 4-5 p.m.

ASFA Vulcan Materials Gallery

In a recent article on the increasing number of movies being made unavailable by the streaming services that generated them, a grim pronouncement by social media influencer Miller Ross was cited: “There will never be another cult classic. If your movie or show underperforms, it will be removed from sight.” If this doesn’t sit well with you, rest assured, it doesn’t sit well with us either. Join us for a panel discussion on the cultural import and communal relevance of repertory screenings of foreign/cult/arthouse films in the age of digital streaming uncertainty. From American SOV slashers to kung fu oddities, from Spanish delinquent flicks to decadent Flemish vampire melodramas, come celebrate the wild side of cinema history.

And that’s not even the half of it — check out our full panel lineup here and remember, they’re all free!

August 19-25, 2024

Sidewalk Film Festival

More info