Sidewalk film preview coming to Pelham

Sidewalk Film Festival attendees gather near the Alabama Theater in downtown Birmingham. The festival will host a preview event on Aug. 2 at the Pelham Civic Complex. (Contributed)

 By NEAL WAGNER / City Editor

Fans of downtown Birmingham’s annual Sidewalk Film Festival will get a sneak peek at this year’s batch of locally made independent films during an Aug. 2 preview event at the Pelham Civic Complex.

This year will mark the first time festival organizers have provided a pre-event preview of the films, and festival Executive Director Chloe Collins said she hopes the sneak peek will help draw new people to the festival.

“We hope we can connect with people who are interested in independent film, but who may not have been able to make it to the festival in downtown Birmingham,” Collins said.

Doors for the preview event will open at 6:30 p.m. and the program will begin at 7 p.m. in the banquet hall side of the Civic Complex. During the program, Sidewalk officials will present an hour-long screening of short films and feature film trailers to be featured in this year’s Sidewalk Film Festival.

Screenings will be followed by a question-and-answer session with festival staff and Sidewalk Board President Alan Hunter. Admission to the preview event is free, and concessions will be available.

The film festival, which began in 1999, will be held Aug. 24-26 at the Alabama Theater in downtown Birmingham.

Collins said Sidewalk organizers decided to hold the preview event this year to reach out to a broader audience, as many of the event’s past participants have come from Shelby County and elsewhere in the Birmingham metropolitan area.

“We felt our organization maybe wasn’t doing enough to promote the festival outside of the downtown Birmingham area,” Collins said, noting the festival has been praised by the Time and Movie Maker magazines.

Collins said the Civic Complex provided a central venue for the preview, and said event organizers are hoping for a big turnout.

“We haven’t done anything like this before, so we are excited about it,” Collins said.