Sidewalk 2017 Preview: Features

We’re 42 days out from Sidewalk 2017! For this week’s preview, Sidewalk Creative Director Rachel Morgan shares a few features you don’t want to miss at this year’s festival.

“It’s a crazy year,” Rachel says. “The temperature of indie film this season is very reflective of the cultural climate of the past 18 months. I’m looking forward to watching films the way they are meant to be experienced—in a cool dark room, on a big screen, with people.”

Sidewalk has made special events surrounding film screenings a time-honored tradition—last year’s festival included live chickens, palm readings, and an appearance by Sasquatch himself—and this year is no exception. “We have more special event related film titles than usual and I’m especially excited about that,” says Rachel. “As always, it’s going to be a packed weekend.”

Check out the first batch of Sidewalk 2017 features below, and check back next Friday for another sneak peek at this year’s festival. The 19th Annual Sidewalk Film Festival presented by Regions is August 22nd-27th!

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A Ghost Story

Directed by David Lowery
USA, Narrative, 87 minutes

Academy Award winner Casey Affleck (Manchester by the Sea, Gone Baby Gone) and Academy Award nominee Rooney Mara (CarolThe Girl with the Dragon Tattoo) star in this nontraditional haunted house tale—a poignant, cerebral film exploring themes of grief, memory, and eternity. Affleck and Mara previously worked with director David Lowery on Sidewalk 2013 Closing Night Film Ain’t Them Bodies Saints.

Whose Streets?

Directed by Sabaah Folayan & Damon Davis
USA, Documentary, 103 minutes

Told by the activists and leaders who live and breathe this movement for justice, Whose Streets? is an unflinching look at the Ferguson uprising. When unarmed teenager Michael Brown is killed by police and left lying in the street for hours, it marks a breaking point for the residents of St. Louis, Missouri. Grief, long-standing racial tensions and renewed anger bring residents together to hold vigil and protest this latest tragedy.

Lucky

Directed by John Carroll Lynch
USA, Narrative, 88 minutes

Lucky follows the spiritual journey of a 90-year-old atheist and the quirky characters that inhabit his off the map desert town. Having out lived all of his contemporaries, Lucky finds himself at the precipice of life, thrust into a journey of self exploration. John Carroll Lynch‘s directorial debut stars legendary character actor Harry Dean Stanton and features Ron Livingston, Tom Skerritt, and director David Lynch in supporting roles.

Lemon

Directed by Janicza Bravo
USA, Narrative, 83 minutes

Isaac Lachmann is a dud. Isaac Lachmann is 40. Isaac Lachmann is a man in free fall immobilized by mediocrity. His career is going nowhere. His girlfriend of ten years is leaving him. What did he do to deserve this? Isaac Lachmann had big dreams. Now he just watches as his life unravels.  Brett Gelman, Judy Greer, Michael Cera, Nia Long, Shiri Appleby, Rhea Perlman, Gillian Jacobs, Megan Mullally, and Jeff Garlin star in this ensemble comedy.

Bang: The Bert Berns Story

Directed by Brett Berns
USA, Documentary, 95 minutes

Music meets the Mob in this biographical documentary, narrated by Stevie Van Zandt, about the life and career of Bert Berns, the most important songwriter and record producer from the sixties that you never heard of. He helped launch the careers of Van Morrison and Neil Diamond and produced some of the greatest soul music ever made. Filmmaker Brett Berns brings his late father’s story to the screen through interviews with those who knew him best and rare performance footage.

Liberation Day

Directed by Ugis Olte and Morten Traavik
Norway and Latvia, Documentary, 100 minutes

Under the loving but firm guidance of an old fan turned director and cultural diplomat, and to the surprise of a whole world, the ex-Yugoslavian cult band Laibach becomes the first rock group ever to perform in the fortress state of North Korea. Confronting strict ideology and cultural differences, the band struggles to get their songs through the needle’s eye of censorship before they can be unleashed on an audience never before exposed to alternative rock’n’roll.

Blame

Directed by Quinn Shephard
USA, Narrative, 100 minutes

Chris Messina stars as a substitute drama teacher whose taboo relationship with an unstable student (writer/director Quinn Shephard) strikes a nerve in her jealous classmate (Nadia Alexander), sparking a vengeful chain of events within their suburban high school that draws parallels to Arthur Miller’s ‘The Crucible’.

Check back next Friday for another sneak peek at this year’s festival!