Sidewalk 2017 Preview: Opening and Closing Night

We’re 35 days away from Sidewalk 2017! This week’s preview is a big one—we’re announcing both our Opening Night Film and our Closing Night Film. Check out the titles below, and watch this space next Friday for a HUGE sneak peek at this year’s festival. The 19th Annual Sidewalk Film Festival presented by Regions is August 22nd-27th!

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Opening Night Film: Step

Directed by Amanda Lipitz
USA, Documentary, 85 minutes

Step is the true-life story of a girls’ high-school step team set against the background of the heart of Baltimore. These young women learn to laugh, love and thrive—on and off the stage—even when the world seems to work against them. Empowered by their teachers, teammates, counselors, coaches and families, they chase their ultimate dreams: to win a step championship and to be accepted into college. Step premiered at Sundance Film Festival in January, where it won a Special Jury Prize for Documentary.

Step is empowering and irresistible,” says Corey Craft, Sidewalk features programmer. “It is an uncommon sports movie where you will stand up and cheer not only at the results of the dance competitions and at the impressive choreography on display but at the results of a college admissions letter. You will not see a more triumphant film all year.”

Closing Night Film: My Friend Dahmer

Directed by Marc Meyers
USA, Narrative, 107 minutes

My Friend Dahmer is the haunting, sad, funny, true story of Jeffrey Dahmer in high school, based on Derf Backderf‘s critically acclaimed 2012 graphic novel of the same name. Dahmer (Ross Lynch, Disney Channel’s Austin & Ally) is an awkward teenager who collects road kill. By the start of senior year, he acts out, throwing epileptic-like fits in the halls. His goofball antics unexpectedly win over a group of band-nerds who form The Dahmer Fan Club headed by Derf Backderf (Alex Wolff, Nickelodeon’s The Naked Brothers Band), but this camaraderie can’t mask his growing depravity. Approaching graduation Jeff spirals further out of control.

My Friend Dahmer is not only engrossing and provocative, but is also a visually captivating time capsule,” said Rachel Morgan, Sidewalk’s creative director. “Former Disney Channel star Ross Lynch is surprisingly convincing as Dahmer in an impressive performance. It’s a perfect example of stellar film that Birmingham deserves to have a theatrical screening of and we’re thrilled and honored for it to close Sidewalk this year.”