We are proud to bring you an additional six titles for the 26th Sidewalk Film Festival (August 19 – 25)! All are films that explore issues and situations involving the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and queer communities.

Every year, we screen thousands of movies to bring the best in independent cinema for the Sidewalk Film Festival. Here’s an intro to these six particular films, read more on why these titles were selected:



Los Frikis, directed by Michael Schwartz and Tyler Nilson, is a poignant feature inspired by true events in Cuba in the 90s. Our expectations of the archetypal coming-of-age narrative were shattered by the raw performances of the cast and their characters’ journeys for freedom in an unpredictable world.

Read screening committee member Linda Reimann’s synopsis of the film:

Los Frikis, depicts the journey of a rebellious punk rock band in Cuba in the early 90s when Cuba was experiencing food insecurities, artists faced censorship, some imprisoned for deviating.  AIDS was on the rise, Cuban government quarantined those with HIV, sadly the sanatoriums were a better option there was food, shelter and more freedoms. Hundreds injected themselves with HIV needles so they could escape.



Your Fat Friend, directed by Jeanie Finlay provides a glimpse into the life of writer Aubrey Gordon, an anonymous blogger turned New York Times best selling author. This documentary highlights Aubrey’s experience of being a fat person and her journey to disrupt society’s ideas and change the way fat people are treated.


Read screening committee member Deni Owen’s synopsis of the film:

Aubrey Gordon is a best-selling author, podcaster, activist and an unapologetically outspoken, queer, FAT woman. In this frank and surprising doc, Gordon shares it all: her family’s discomfort with her self-acceptance, the career drama as she moves from anonymous articles to book deals, and the very disturbing but common experience of many women online – harassment and threats of violence.



Sabbath Queen directed by Sandi DuBowski, is a deeply moving feature documentary filmed in the span of 21 years. The documentary follows Rabbi Amichai Lau-Lavie’s journey as the dynastic heir of 38 generations of Orthodox rabbis. We were intrigued by the juxtaposition of familial ties + traditional expectations vs fashioning your own path as a unique and multifaceted individual. 

Read Sidewalk Film Center + Cinema board member Michele Forman’s synopsis of the film:

Sandi DuBowski’s documentary Sabbath Queen is a deeply human portrait about embracing complexity and conflict in pursuit of something higher. It follows Rabbi Amichai Lau-Lavie’s epic journey who is torn between rejecting and embracing his destiny. A self-proclaimed “drag queen rebel,” he searches for spiritual meaning as he founds his experimental all-are-welcome congregation, becomes a queer dad, and creatively reinvents religion and ritual for a challenging, rapidly changing twenty-first century.



All Happy Families, is a charming modern family dramedy portrait directed by Haroula Rose. We were swept away by the magnificent cast performances and their characters’ tangle of family dysfunctionality.

Read screening committee member Dave Howell’s synopsis of the film:

All Happy Families is a drama-comedy that examines the Landry brothers’ and their parents’ gathering one weekend to fix up the family’s longtime Chicago home for a new tenant. The film humorously explores their love, friction, and complicated relationships as old complaints are reawakened and they attempt to adapt to changes in society.



Playing to Survive: von Cramm vs. Hitler, the slick documentary directed by Annette Baumeister impressed us with sleek animation and high-quality archival footage of the international tennis champion Gottfried von Cramm. This documentary highlights how von Cramm’s sexual orientation was weaponized against him and his steadfast commitment to his principles to avoid any involvement with the Nazi Party.

Read screening committee member J Matthew Cobb’s synopsis of the film:

Inside Annette Baumeister’s documentary, you encounter an untold story of a unique demonstration of bravery. It’s a love letter to Gottfried von Cramm, one of tennis’s forgotten heroes of the 20th century, one whose career and fame was shunned early on due to the rising, rampant homophobia that prevailed after the Roaring Twenties along with Adolf Hitler’s hidden agenda for the sports star. 



Midwinter, directed by Ryan Balas is a melodic tale of finding shelter in others. It tells the story of a blooming song-writer going through the motions of a break up. Additionally the film tackles the subject of motherhood, expanding marriages and multiple sclerosis.

Read screening committee member Dawn Mills’s synopsis of the film:

Midwinter is a very effective film which revolves around two sisters (Lena and Nadine) and the relationships in their lives. It’s a tangled web of a story involving pain, passion and self-discovery. Writer/Director Ryan Balas brings together beautiful cinematography and aesthetics in a film that keeps one’s interest from beginning to end.

These six titles (plus our first six women-led films we announced) are just a taste of what’s in store for the 26th Annual Sidewalk Film Festival, happening from August 19th to 25th.

Tickets are on sale now, and trust us, you won’t want to miss out on the action. Spread the word and grab your tickets today for what promises to be an epic cinematic experience!

VIP + Weekend Passes are NOW ON SALE! Get them here.

August 19-25, 2024

Sidewalk Film Festival

More info