This blog post is by Black Lens Programmer, Patrick Johnson.

Good people of Birmingham and beyond, Sidewalk’s Black Lens Film Week has returned for 2024! A true celebration of Black creatives in film, Black Lens has been a staple at Sidewalk since 2022. This week’s lineup includes a wide variety of genre’s, including drama, comedy, and documentary films.

While the lineup is magnificent, there are a few films that I’m especially looking forward to experiencing. Da 5 Bloods won me over by simply casting some of my favorite actors – Delroy Lindo, Clarke Peters, and Isaiah Whitlock, Jr. (“shiiiiit”). This is a story of 4 Vietnam veterans returning to their old war zone for closure – and buried treasure. Adventure, drama, with a little comedy sprinkled in makes this film a must-see.

For my weekly dose of truth, I’m taking in the documentary Defending Freedom: The Arthur D. Shores Story, a long overdue story about the life and accomplishments of homegrown, unsung civil rights hero Arthur Shores. My truth seeking is complete with the biopic Origin (Starring Anjanue Ellis-Taylor, directed by Ava DuVernay). This film follows journalist and author Isabel Wilkerson as she research for her book Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents. I imagine Wilkerson watching quietly, testifying with her right hand raised. I plan to follow suit.

Finally, my Black Lens experience isn’t complete without a true happy hour/vibe session on Saturday, February 24 from 5:30pm – 7:30pm. Sounds and atmosphere will be provided by The Kickback, one of the best DJ crews in the city. Drink specials, Black Lens movies, and the Kickback? We should all be in line right now!


A $40 Ticket Package for 5 films of your choice are available!

Sidewalk’s Black Lens Film Week is February 21 – 25. For more info, showtimes, tickets, and ticket packages, click here.

August 19-25, 2024

Sidewalk Film Festival

More info