With hundreds of films to see at the 25th annual Sidewalk Film Festival it might be hard to decide which ones to put on your festival schedule. Luckily, I am a features programmer and can help!

By Charlie Brown Sanders III, features programmer

Opening Night After Dark: Hello Dankness

Friday, Aug. 25, at 10 p.m.
Sidewalk Cinema Theater A and B
1821 2nd Ave. N.

With our 25th Sidewalk Film Festival, we have decided to add a new programming slot: Opening Night After Dark. Each year, we aim to grow the number of films we show, and this potential late-night slot always seemed like it could be something special if we could get the perfect film. I am happy to report that Hello Dankness is indeed that film! Consisting of footage from hundreds of films, it tells the story of how the 2016 election radically transformed the minds of all Americans. It just might not seem as straightforward as all that sounds. With its warped amalgamation of harsh truths and never-ending questions, Hello Dankness creatively sums up the confusing world we find ourselves living in. The cinematic examples in this feature film truly allow art to imitate life.

Buzzard (2014)

Saturday, Aug. 26 at 2:50 p.m.
Kress Building Ballroom
301 19th St. N

Another special opportunity we have during our 25th year is to take a look back at some of the films that have stood out from past years lineups! We have selected 25 films divided up between screenings throughout the year at the Sidewalk Cinema and our festival.

Buzzard instantly made the list for me as it is one of the most visceral first-time screenings I’ve ever experienced at Sidewalk. Following Marty after he steals undeliverable refund checks from his company, we see how far this con man descends into paranoia and violence while attempting to stay one step ahead of the police. A beautifully photographed editing tour de force, we are very excited to bring Buzzard back to Sidewalk!

Sorcery (Brujería)

Saturday, Aug. 26, at 5:30 p.m.
ASFA Dorothy Jemison Day Theater
820 18th St. N.

Over the past 25 years, Sidewalk has developed a reputation for offering gripping horror and mesmerizing slow-burn films. Sorcery offers both in one instant classic. Follow Rosa as she sets out for justice, seeking help from the king of a powerful organization of sorcerers. A folk-horror revenge fairytale taking place on a remote island in the late 19th century, Sorcery’s perfectly crafted pacing of poetic brilliance is illuminated with gorgeous cinematography and aesthetic that calls to mind Tarkovsky, Haneke and Bergman. 

Medusa Deluxe

Sunday, Aug. 27, at 5:45 p.m.
Lyric Theater
1800 3rd Ave. N.

Another staple of the past 25 years at Sidewalk is the classic thriller, typically modernized. In Medusa Deluxe, talented and cutthroat hairstylists at a competition find one of their own has been murdered — before judging has even begun. A dazzling refresher on the whodunit subgenre, Medusa Deluxe is shot and edited to achieve the one camera take look and feel. An impressive debut feature, this whirlwind comedic — and at times claustrophobic — thriller is a film you will not want to miss!

Dogtooth (2009)

Sunday, Aug. 27, at 8:30 p.m.
Sidewalk Cinema Theater A
1821 2nd Ave. N.

The last film I’d like to recommend comes from Academy Award nominee Yorgos Lanthimos. Originally featured at our 2009 festival, Dogtooth is another retrospective title that absolutely grabs the audience by the throat from the start and does not let go until the credits. A controlling, manipulative father locks his three adult offspring in a state of perpetual childhood by keeping them prisoner within the sprawling family compound. Increasingly curious about the outside world, the older daughter hatches a plan to escape. Not for the faint of heart. WARNING! EXTREMELY VIOLENT!

While these five titles stand out to me as must-see narrative films, we of course have so much more to offer and we encourage you to check out our full film lineup here. And ticket sales are coming in hot. Be sure to order your Sidewalk Film Festival tickets and passes sooner rather than later


August 19-25, 2024

Sidewalk Film Festival

More info