We are extremely excited to bring you our first six titles for the 26th Sidewalk Film Festival! All are female-directed, female-led and female focused! 

Every year, we screen thousands of movies to bring the best in independent cinema for the Sidewalk Film Festival. Without fail, a majority of films follow a similar theme. This year, WOMEN LEAD FILM! Here’s why we chose these six particular films.

1. CHAPERONE

Chaperone is a fantastic black comedy and directorial debut from Hawaiian director Zoe Eisenberg. We were really blown away with the film’s sophistication, especially for a first-time director. The performances from the cast and crew make the film both exhilarating on a first watch and memorable enough to consider re-examination.

Read screening committee member Lisa Provost synopsis of the film:

Maturation blues. Misha, almost 30, refuses to sell her childhood home. She clings to her job as a ticket taker and has no ambitions to grow up. Misha finds solace in a relationship with a much younger man. A secret is revealed at a party, and she loses her job. Misha has no choice but to grow up. Will she finally make the leap into adulthood or continue to live a stunted life?

2. NO ONE ASKED YOU

No One Asked You is an abortion-rights documentary that was partially filmed in Birmingham. With the country’s national status to abortion causing sweeping legal changes across the states, there couldn’t be a more relevant time to screen this film.

Read the synopsis from director Ruth Leitman:

Comedian, disruptor-extraordinaire Lizz Winstead (co-creator The Daily Show) and her team of activists crisscross the U.S. to support abortion clinic staff and bust stigma. Pop culture icons and next-gen comics fuel this six-year road film activating small-town folks to rebuild vandalized clinics, exposing wrongdoer politicians, domestic terrorists, and media neglect as the race to the bottom ensues. A bold call to action reminds us that when the patriarchy burns down, joy will prevail.


3. A SONG FOR IMOGENE

A Song For Imogene showcases amazing talent from both the cast and crew. With financing assistance from the Filmed in NC Fund, made possible through the partnership between the NC Film Office and Cucalorus Film Foundation, we believe A Song For Imogene provides a perfect example of the power in supporting independent film organizations to produce amazing films now and in the future.

Read screening committee member Tara Hulen’s synopsis for more information about this amazing work:

A positive pregnancy test motivates Cheyenne to leave her abusive boyfriend, fleeing to her childhood home. But the needs of her dying alcoholic mother and estranged sister threaten to suffocate her dreams of escape. A Song for Imogen is a beautifully empathetic story without condescending Southern caricatures, showing complex women trying to climb out of crippling generational poverty, mend family wounds, and keep some dreams for themselves.

4. MAYA AND THE WAVE

Maya and the Wave tells the story of a female surfing champion facing challenges in a male-dominated sport. Despite clearly winning a competition category, she has to appeal for recognition through crowdfunding. This film highlights how women’s talents are often overlooked and reflects the societal undervaluation of women’s achievements. 

Read screening committee member Eileen Keirnen’s synopsis below:

Follow the story of professional surfer Maya Gabeira and her pursuit of becoming a world record holder big wave surfer. Overcoming a near death accident, loss of sponsors, and continuous criticism that she did not belong in the male dominated sport, Maya’s courage and determination overcomes those challenges to prove that she is worthy.

5. THE WORLD ACCORDING TO ALLEE WILLIS


The World According to Allee Willis provides a glimpse into the life of a not-so-well-known songwriter whose work you’ve probably hummed a thousand times. Allee’s story and forgotten historical relevance are exactly the type of stories that deserve a biographical profile. Her influence can be seen across many works of art widely known in popular culture, yet her story has remained untold for decades. 

Read screening committee member Derek Wingate’s synopsis below:

Allee Willis’ quote “I am the world’s best kept secret” really is the best way to describe this film. It’s a must watch for anyone who loves music, songwriting or just likes to see the underdog win. Allee was more than a songwriter, her persona was so strong that she built bridges. She was an icon in her time, she moved to the rhythm of her own beat and thankfully we get to dance to the boogie now.

6. WELCOME SPACE BROTHERS

Welcome Space Brothers is the kind of film one would expect to see at the Sidewalk Film Festival. With a cult leader, UFOs aiding mankind in getting closer to Jesus, and all set in the 80s, this film immediately caught my attention as an enchanting journey of wonder and legend. 

Read screening committee member Jamie Plott’s synopsis of the film below:


Welcome Space Brothers tells the story of The Unarius Academy of Science, a group of believers in self-healing and extra-terrestrial connection., and their leader Ruth Norman, aka Uriel. Through their use of public-access television, the group created films to tell their fantastic story to the world. Part spiritual group, part soap opera of personalities, and part discovery of an inventive indie filmmaker.


Get ready for an electrifying lineup at this year’s fest! These six titles 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

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