Sidewalk’s 2023 Staff Picks Series: Beats, Rhymes, & Life: The Travels of A Tribe Called Quest

This month for our 2023 Staff Picks series, we turn to Shorts Programmer Patrick Johnson who’s selected a film about one of his favorite artists and one of the most special things in his life – hip hop. Here’s what he had to say:

“I’ve been a self-proclaimed hip hop head since the genre arrived in the late 70’s. A bit of a purist, but not to the point that I don’t want to see the music and artists grow. Music is my life – I was a band nerd in high school and performed with the hip hop group Red Light District for over 10 years. I have a Tidal hip hop playlist for any occasion you can name. Sometime between 1990 and 1991, I fell in love with the eclectic, jazzy, weirdness that everyone referred to as ‘A Tribe Called Quest.’ The horns. The muddy bass lines. Ali with the ‘sugar cuts,’ and The Abstract and the Five-Footer with the wordplay.

Tribe was a huge part of my 90’s soundtrack. The entire rap community was devastated when Tribe broke up. ‘First the Fat boys break up? Now this?’ How could this be?

Beats, Rhymes & Life: The Travels of A Tribe Called Quest, a behind-the-scenes documentary by Michael Rappaport, really attempted to find the answer. Hearing the stories of the come-up and the world tours and watching Phife deal with his health issues gave me the insight I needed. I watched friendships blossom within the group, only to have those same friendships tested during the most integral moments. It was like watching brothers fight and a family separate, only to find that the love is still all there. The admiration is greater. The respect is real.

You like music? You’re really into it, huh? You may even have a favorite group. If so, you gotta check out Beats, Rhyme and Life. Through all its ups and downs, the film is a true celebration. You’ll be looking for your Tribe playlist soon after!”

Beats, Rhymes, & Life: The Travels of A Tribe Called Quest plays at the Sidewalk Cinema May 19 – 21. Get tickets here.


Sidewalk’s Inaugural Alabama Film Week

In the shadow of Alabama filmmaker and multi-time Sidewalk alum Daniel Scheinert sweeping the Academy Awards… it’s time for Sidewalk’s inaugural Alabama Film Week! 

Scheinert’s (and Kwan’s!) Academy Award-winning “Everything Everywhere All At Once”

Considering the recent landslide, we’re highlighting Daniel’s films with a best-hits-so-far retrospective including THE DEATH OF DICK LONG (shot in Alabama!), SWISS ARMY MAN and, of course, EVERYTHING EVERYWHERE ALL AT ONCE. We’re also highlighting the short-form work of a number of successful Alabama filmmakers with ALABAMA SHORTS, including a couple of Scheinert’s Sidewalk Scramble films as well as short films by GODZILLA VS KONG director and Alabama-native Adam Wingard, Jay Burleson, Stacey Davis, Xavier Burgin, Lily Ahree Siegel, Paul D. Hart and more. 


Writer/Director Robert Mugge will be in attendance for a screening of his film “Sun Ra: A Joyful Noise”

We’re honored to host a special screening of SUN RA: A JOYFUL NOISE featuring a reading and book signing with director Robert Mugge. Stop by and catch films by future-famous Alabama Filmmakers at the Statewide Scramble Screening (Scheinert credits this quickpaced film competition for his filmmaking start). Plus much more including a conversation with Alabama Public Television, a sneak preview of work by David Brower Alabama Filmmaker Grant winner, Theo Moore II, film trivia in the lobby and beyond + our always expected surprises. 


Sidewalk is honored and excited to serve as the capstone for filmmaking and filmmakers in Alabama, join us to celebrate locally connected filmmaking with the spotlight on just a few of Alabama’s amazing filmmakers. Cheers!

Find our full lineup at

Sidewalk’s 2023 Women In Film Week Lineup

Happy Women’s History Month!

To celebrate, Sidewalk is bringing back our annual Women In Film Week, starting March 6th and lasting until March 12th. The week will consist of female-centric programming selected by some of Sidewalk’s favorite local female voices.


Last Flight Home (2022)

Directed by Ondi Timoner

Playing March 6 – March 12

In his final days, we discover Eli Timoner and an extraordinary life of wild achievements, tragic loss and most of all, enduring love. Last Flight Home shares a stunning verité account of a courageous family confronting life and death.

Get tickets here.


Big (1988) Programming Selection by Stacey Davis

Directed by Penny Marshall

Playing March 6 and March 11

After wishing to be made big, a teenage boy wakes the next morning to find himself mysteriously in the body of an adult.

Get tickets here.


Eat Pray Love (2010) Programming Selection by T. Marie King

Directed by Ryan Murphy

Playing March 8 and March 9

A married woman realizes how unhappy her marriage really is, and that her life needs to go in a different direction. After a painful divorce, she takes off on a round-the-world journey to “find herself”.

Get tickets here.


Women’s Adventure Film Tour

Directed by Chloe Keeley, Danny Warley, Jen Randall, Paula Champagne, and James Q. Martin

Playing March 8, March 9, and March 11

The Women’s Adventure Film Tour® (WAFT) is back for the sixth year. The tour is a celebration of the fantastic women around us who are doing extraordinary things in the name of adventure.

Get tickets here.


The Virgin Suicides (1999) Programming Selection by Jackie Lo

Directed by Sofia Coppola

Playing March 9, March 10, and March 12

A group of male friends become obsessed with five mysterious sisters who are sheltered by their strict, religious parents in suburban Detroit in the mid 1970s.

Get tickets here.


Cocaine Bear

Directed by Elizabeth Banks

Playing March 10 – March 23

An oddball group of cops, criminals, tourists, and teens converge in a Georgia forest where a 500-pound black bear goes on a murderous rampage after unintentionally ingesting cocaine.

Get tickets here.

Sidewalk’s 2023 Black Lens Film Week Lineup

Sidewalk’s Black Lens Film Week, a week dedicated to celebrating Black voices and stories, starts this coming Monday, February 20th and ends Sunday, February 26th. With titles ranging from engaging narratives, family-friendly films, cult classics, and captivating documentaries, we’ve got a little something for everyone. If you’re unsure of what to come see at the Cinema, we’re including this year’s complete lineup for you below: 


Monday, February 20

Panther (1995) preceded by Fathers (short) – 7:00pm

Tuesday, February 21

Sign O’ The Times (1987), preceded by A Concerto Is A Conversation (short) – 7:00pm

 Wednesday, February 22

February Book + Film Club Public Screening: In the Heat of the Night (1967) – 7:00pm

Thursday, February 23

Roll Bounce (2005), preceded by The Beauty President (short) – 7:00pm

Friday, February 24

Crooklyn (1994) – 7:00pm

Saturday, February 25

Akeelah and the Bee (2006) – 12:00pm

Dope (2015) – 12:30pm

Storming Caesar’s Palace (2022) sponsored by Mayors for a Guaranteed Income – 4:00pm

Shaft (1971) – 4:30pm

Shaft (2000) – 7:00pm

King: A Filmed Record…Montgomery to Memphis (1969) sponsored by Four Corners Gallery – 7:30pm

Sunday, February 26

Can We All Get Along sponsored by Neil Rafferty – 2:00pm

Little (2019) – 3:00pm

Let the Church Say (2022) – 3:30pm

Black Lens Shorts Showcase sponsored by Withrow Newell – 5:30pm

The Bodyguard (1992) – 6:00pm

Posse (1993) – 8:00pm


For more info on each screening, follow their respective links or find all our titles here.

Announcing 2023 Black Lens Film Week Titles

Sidewalk is excited to announce the 2nd Annual Black Lens Film Week, February 20 – 26.  Black Lens Film Week celebrates Black cinema, filmmakers, and artists – committed to elevating Black voices and stories. Join us for a week filled with engaging narratives, family-friendly films, cult classics, and captivating documentaries.

What can you expect to see during Black Lens Film Week?

We will kick off Black Lens Film Week with the Mario Van Peebles film Panther (1995), a drama that chronicles the Black Panther Party for Self Defense from its birth through its decline. We will close out the week with Peebles’ film Posse (1993), a Western story about a group (posse) of African American soldiers who assist their leader in taking revenge on the men that killed his father. You don’t want to miss these two amazing films!

A special thanks to the City of Birmingham for sponsoring the documentary Storming Caesar’s Palace, a film that follows the story of Ruby Duncan and a band of mothers who launched a revolutionary Black feminist anti-poverty movement in the 1960s and 1970s.

Also be sure to join us for the 30th Anniversary celebration of The Bodyguard starring Whitney Houston, and our Shaft Double Feature which includes Shaft (1971) and Shaft (2000).


Our Black Business Fair begins Tuesday, February 21 highlighting entrepreneurs and artists from across the city of Birmingham. Black Lens Trivia is back on Friday and Saturday night along with special Happy Hour music from the Kickback.

So, come celebrate with us!

– T. Marie King, Lead Shorts and Black Lens Programmer

For more information on Black Lens Film Week and a full list of films programmed, visit us at:

Sidewalk’s 2023 Staff Picks Series: Vertigo

Nick Ferlisi has been involved with Sidewalk since 2015, serving as a member of the Youth Board and participated/attended the Festival almost every year since. Since 2022, he’s worked at the Cinema as a Projectionist. Nick’s deep love of film has been prevalent for most of his life, aspiring to become a filmmaker at a young age with the hope of telling a variety of stories for all to enjoy. As time has gone, on one thing is certain: Nick lives and breathes film. Whether it’s an old-timey classic, a grandiose technicolor epic, a campy B-horror flick, an artsy international think piece, or even a blockbuster superhero spectacle, he’s probably seen them all! One of his favorites is February’s Staff Pick…and here’s what he had to say about it:

Vertigo, Alfred Hitchcock’s 1958 suspenseful sensation, was one of his films I didn’t get around to seeing until my sophomore year of college film class –  and it disappoints me that it took so long to discover this astonishing classic. From the colorfully eye-popping intro to the gripping finale, I found my mind spinning around in amazement and curiosity as this story has a great deal to tell – making me come back for more. This film manages to thrill me, shock me, and entertain me…as well as perplex me. I was truly hypnotized by those spirals! When looking back at the journey for this film’s place in cinema history, it’s an interesting story. This was a film made by a world renowned director that wasn’t very well-received upon release – then fast-forward some decades later and it’s hailed as one of the greatest films ever made… second chances do exist!

I’ve seen an abundant amount of old movies (more than I can honestly count) and I want to share the love for these old pictures with newer audiences. Some things take time to be fully appreciated… and that’s what happened here with Vertigo. Not only do I want people to have the opportunity to see an old classic, but to take some time to appreciate and learn from the old stuff, as well.

Hope everyone will be on the edge of their seats and enjoy the suspense!”

– Nick Ferlisi

Birmingham Native and Sidewalk Alum Daniel Scheinert Leads 2023 Oscar Nominations

The nominations for the 95th Academy Awards have been announced, with Birmingham native and Sidewalk alum Daniel Scheinert’s (one half of directing duo Daniels) Everything Everywhere All At Once leading the race with 11 nominations! reported it today and had a profile on the filmmaker back in April where he couldn’t help but mention his love and gratitude for Sidewalk, “…(it’s) still my favorite film festival, so anytime I can go, I go. I always tell other filmmakers that it’s the right size of a film festival where you can walk to all the theaters, and it’s just one fun weekend.” We couldn’t be more proud of how far he’s come and can’t wait to screen the 11-time nominated film again in February. This is just one of many films screened over the past year at the Sidewalk Cinema that have received such honors.

Back in July, you might remember we set up a crafts station in honor of a popular little mollusk. Marcel the Shell with Shoes On ended up earning a nomination for Best Animated Feature. At the same time we screened the stunning documentary Fire of Love – nominated for Documentary Feature Film – and one of the year’s biggest successes, Top Gun: Maverick – nominated for Film Editing, Music (Original Song), Sound, Visual Effects, Writing (Adapted Screenplay), and Best Picture.

In October we screened Ruben Östlund’s Triangle of Sadness, which is up for Writing (Original Screenplay), Directing, and Best Picture. In November we screened frontrunner Todd Field’s TÁR, which earned nominations for Film Editing, Writing (Original Screenplay), Cinematography, Directing, Best Picture, and Best Actress for Cate Blanchett.

Newcomer Paul Mescal (who also starred in the 2022 Sidewalk Film Festival favorite, God’s Creatures) received a Best Actor nomination for Charlotte Wells’ Aftersun. One of the most critically acclaimed documentaries of the year, All the Beauty and the Bloodshed, is up for Best Documentary Feature. And Darren Aronofsky’s The Whale received nominations for Best Makeup and Hairstyling, Best Supporting Actress for Hong Chau, and Best Actor for Brendan Fraser.

Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert’s phenomenon Everything Everywhere All At Once garnered the largest number of nominations, receiving a total of eleven: Costume Design, Film Editing (another Birmingham native, Paul Rogers), Music (Original Score), Music (Original Song), Writing (Original Screenplay), Directing, Best Picture, Best Supporting Actress for Jamie Lee Curtis and Stephanie Hsu, Best Supporting Actor for Ke Huy Quan, and Best Actress for Michelle Yeoh.

We couldn’t be happier for one of our hometown heroes and we’re celebrating by bring Everything Everywhere All At Once back to the Sidewalk Cinema on February 10 – 12. We’ve also got our final screenings of The Whale this Thursday, January 26. Keeping in theme, we’ll also be screening this year’s Oscar Shorts soon – date to be determined, but stay tuned!

We’ll be having our free Oscars Watch Party the night of the ceremony, March 12.

Sidewalk’s 2023 Staff Picks Series: Spaceballs

Introducing Sidewalk’s 2023 Staff Picks screening series, a monthly series where members of our staff pick a movie that means the world to them. We’re kicking things off with Mel Brooks’ 1987 comedy classic, Spaceballs, as picked by J. Matt Cobb.

J. Matt has been volunteering for the Sidewalk Film Festival for nine years and has been a projectionist/concessionaire for four years. A Virgo whose hobbies include “hoarding vinyl (except the Taylor Swift kind), spreading the evangelical good news about coffee, eating above-average pizza, trolling Reddit for gossip, handling marketing & social media for too many accounts, Netflix and chilling by myself, watching dog & cat videos, promoting Lakeview life, and #JMattspeaking.” He told us his favorite music genres are R&B/soul, disco, and 80s pop/rock, and his favorite TV shows are Family Guy, Moonlighting, South Park, and Schitt’s Creek. Here’s what he had to say about one of his favorite movies: the cult classic, Spaceballs.

Spaceballs, Mel Brooks’ 1987 Star Wars spoof, was like my first film that I abused relentlessly on a VHS cassette. My brother, cousins, and I would fumble over with uncontrollable laughter, abusing the rewind button over scenes that merged my Looney Tunes-trained adolescent imagination with the silly wit of Brooks’ one-liners. I was never big on Star Wars, but I got all the references in the film. And there’s plenty of comical jabs at other sci-fi and blockbuster movie franchises. To me, this is zany parody cinema done at peak Mel Brooks perfection. 

I’ve seen this movie countless times. Seriously, I stopped counting. And I’ve had my share of comedy films in my lifetime. But this never grows old. Whether you’re seeing this for the first time…or in the words of Michael Winslow’s character, ‘you’ve lost the bleeps, lost the sweeps, and lost the creeps,’ Spaceballs will almost always leave you in fits of hysterical laughter. And at a crazy pace — ‘ludicrous speed’ to be exact – it’ll have you ‘going to plaid.’  

Enjoy this comedy masterpiece…and may the Schwartz be with you.”

–  J. Matt Cobb


See our Staff Pick screening of Spaceballs at the Sidewalk Cinema on January 28 at 8:00pm and February 2 at 6:30pm. Get tickets at

Sidewalk Names First Recipient of David Brower Grant for Alabama Filmmakers

Sidewalk Film Center + Cinema is excited to announce the winner of the inaugural David Brower Grant for Alabama Filmmakers, Theo M. Moore II. 

Moore is the founder of Hiztorical Vision Productions (HVP), a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization in Opelika, AL. Through his work, Moore aims “to share uplifting information about African American history that is not always easily accessible or taught to the general public.” He says, “The films and projects we usually see of African Americans are from the victimization standpoint rather than a focus on the success stories of those who were civically engaged or made contributions to this country.” Moore has three documentary shorts under his belt, Crown the County of Lowndes (2018), Hobson City: From Peril to Promise (2019), and Afrikan By Way of American (2021). Hobson City: From Peril to Promise was screened at the 2020 Sidewalk Film Festival.

Moore was selected by a committee of local filmmakers including the grant’s namesake, David Brower. Brower says, “Having this grant in my name is a greater honor than any awards I’ve garnered for my actual work.  I’ve been proud to learn that I helped so many on their paths while just doing what comes naturally to me.  I hope this grant bolsters the spirit of mentorship each year above and beyond what I can continue to do personally.”  

The David Brower Grant for Alabama Filmmakers, given in the spirit of mentoring and collaboration, in the amount of $1,500, is open to Alabama artists of all ages, ethnicities, genders and experience levels, to aid in a filmmaking endeavor, in any genre, at any stage of production. The next round of applications will open Summer 2023.

Congratulations to Theo!


Sidewalk’s 2022 Holiday Series!

Happy, Happy Holidays From Sidewalk! Join us for our festive 2022 holiday line-up! This year we’re offering an explosion of celebratory madness. 

Here’s a quick rundown: We all love Christmas at the Alabama Theatre so be sure to catch DIE HARD and/or HOME ALONE this season. Then join us around the corner at the Sidewalk Cinema for DIE HARD 2 and/or HOME ALONE 2: LOST IN NEW YORK (beware of the scary cameo). 


Catch the film that inspired HOME ALONE (so much so that the producers threatened legal action on the grounds of plagiarism), the 1989 cult classic DIAL CODE SANTA CLAUS aka DEADLY GAMES. 


It wouldn’t be the holidays without Dolly Parton – all screenings of A SMOKY MOUNTAIN CHRISTMAS are free! What other Christmas movie opens on a fog machine filled music video set accompanied by a voice-over from Dolly and is directed by Henry Winkler?!


 It’s the year of the Coastal Grandmother so grab your cream-colored turtleneck and linen pants and join us for Nancy Meyers’ THE HOLIDAY. We have lots of Coastal Grandmother surprises in store – the best outfit gets a free popcorn (and possibly a date with Keanu Reeves)!


The holiday staple, GREMLINS, is back on the screen this year and not to be missed – it’s basically Sidewalk’s holiday house band. 



If you’re looking for something with even more Christmas gore, catch the one and only SILENT NIGHT, DEADLY NIGHT. We’re even offering a midnight screening – where else in town can you see a late-night Christmas film… aside from your couch?! After all, we’re all due for at least one “Merry f-ing Christmas” this year. “You see Santa Claus tonight you better run boy, you better run for ya life” – Grandpa. 

Still not debaucherous enough for you? How about the Christmas edition of Bad Movie Night. We can’t tell you what the film’s going to be, but we promise it’s really, really bad and really, really free. We’re in celebration-mode, so we’re tripling down this year and also offering a Bad Movie Holi-Day double feature to give everyone a chance to break away from the fam (or drag them with you) for an afternoon at Sidewalk. 

As we head into the New Year, we have the seasonally appropriate WAITING TO EXHALE. So catch I WANNA DANCE WITH SOMEBODY at the multiplex and join us at Sidewalk for a champagne toast to Whitney. Plus we’re out of school so MY NEIGHBOR TOTORO (a Sidewalk staff favorite) is also on the slate! 

That’s a lot! But then the holiday season reminds us all of the importance of cinema in our lives. Would it truly be the holidays without your cinematic seasonal favorites? We hope you’ll join us at Sidewalk to celebrate the holidays, the end of another year, and the start of the new one – and, of course, the glorious medium that has the power to evoke memory, conversation and comfort and to connect us all (or at least gives you 90+ minutes of escape!). Happy Holidays, the movies wouldn’t be the same without you.


Rachel (Morgan)

Sidewalk Film Center + Cinema Creative Director