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Sidewalk posts lineup

August 25, 2009

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With a slight delay due to the addition of an eighth venue in the mix, Sidewalk Film Festival announced its lineup today, with a few more including short films to be listed later this week. While a few films below have been making their rounds on the fest circuit, a few new ones are also in the mix. One of the highlights is the great narrative, “Made in China” which I saw at SXSW and I believe also won Best Narrative Feature. One of the stand outs to me is “Etienne” which looks like a goofy and adorable film about a road trip and a boy and his hamster. Also exciting is the doc “Official Rejection” which I have been wanting to see for a while now.

Stay tuned for more about Sidewalk throughout September.

A clarification may be needed as “We Live In Public” is being listed as in competition and out of competition. Not sure which area it is meant to fall under?

COMPETITION FILMS

NARRATIVE FEATURES

Alexander the Last

Directed by Joe Swanberg

Alexander hits the nail on the head with its accurate portrayal of the human desire to camp so close to the edge of romance even when all signs point to NO.

Children of Invention

Directed by Tze Chen

Tze Chun’s debut feature is a touching story about family and perseverance in the face of financial crisis. Extremely poignant in today’s economic climate, Children of Invention captures the contradictions of the new American dream.

Dear Lemon Lima

Directed by Suzi Yoonessi

Set against the expansive and picturesque backdrop of Alaska (actually shot in the great Northwest); Dear Lemon Lima beautifully captures youthful intensity, fleeting innocence and the energy of junior high school crushing.

Etienne!

Directed by Jeff Mizushima

After Richard’s best and only friend, a dwarf hamster named Etienne, is diagnosed with terminal cancer, he decides to take him on a bicycle road trip up the California coast to show him the world before he must put him to sleep.

House of the Devil

Directed by Ti West

House of the Devil is a genuine love letter to the conventions of late seventies to late eighties horror movies the ones with names like Sorority House-this and Slumber Party-that. The film’s true rewards lay in its slow building tension and its commitment to scaring the hell out if its audience.

Idiots and Angels

Directed by Bill Plympton

Bill Plympton’s internationally acclaimed cartoon fairytale for grown-ups, Idiots and Angels tells the story of a reluctant angel who struggles to overcome his curse: to perform an act of love in a cold, heartless world.

Interplanetary (screened OFF 2009 and Indie Memphis 2008)

Directed by Chance Shirley

Alabama Native and Resident From the creators of Hide and Creep, a Sidewalk fave, comes this slasher-comedy-sci-fi film about corporate bureaucracy millions of miles from Earth. Shot in Alabama, Interplanetary is likely the most ambitious movie in our feature lineup.

Lightning Salad Moving Picture

Directed by Kenneth Price

Lightning Salad Moving Picture is a youthful, hilarious, high energy, crazy comedy that is a colorful, intensely original, true independent from The Superkiiids.

Made in China

Directed by Judi Krant Johnson, a self-styled novelty inventor from a small town in East Texas, is determined to bring his big idea to the world. Johnson’s journey takes him to the Mecca of the novelty world: China, where anything is possible and everything has its price. Lost in the backstreets of Shanghai, Johnson discovers that it takes more than a million dollar idea to make it to the big time. It takes guts, determination, and a fist full of sneezing powder.

Modern Love is Automatic

Directed by Zach Clark

20-something apathetic nurse Loraine Schultz moves through life like a zombie. When she walks in on her boyfriend in bed with another woman it is no more impactful than the bus running late. Perhaps in an effort to break out of such a rut, or possibly just for something to do, Lorraine decides to try her hand at being a dominatrix.

St. Nick

Directed by David Lowery

Across the wintry Texas plains, a brother and sister roam like little aliens in a foreign landscape. Taking shelter in rustic barns and sheds, the two diligently work to remain discreet, avoiding authority at all costs. It isn’t until the first third of the film that we realize that they are, in fact, normal kids who have run away from home. Rather than jumping into an explanation for their departure, the story focuses on their childlike sense of adventure and wonder.

That Evening Sun

Directed by Scott Teems

As one of this decade’s greatest Southern dramas, That Evening Sun shows us just how far a man will go to claim what is his. Academy Award nominee (Into the Wild) Hal Holbrook stars as Abner Meecham, an 80-year-old who one day decides to walk out of his soul-crushing nursing home and head back to his farm only to discover betrayal and regret.

The Mountain, The River and The Road

Directed by Michael Harring

The Mountain, the River and the Road is a story of romance, intimacy, friendship and responsibility set against a contrasting wintry landscape. The road picture/buddy movie turned romance is pleasantly sensitive and subtlety humorous.

The Vicious Kind

Directed by Lee Toland Krieger

Heartbroken and weary, Caleb picks up his brother, Peter, from college so that he can return home for Thanksgiving. Peter’s new girlfriend, Emma, joins them for the holiday trip. Caleb is an abusive, chain-smoking construction worker who is deeply alienated and downright misogynistic. His initial reaction is to warn Peter to break things off with his new girlfriend. As his abusive behaviors increase so does his attraction to his baby brother’s girlfriend. Graphic, honest and unapologetically brutal, The Vicious Kind isn’t your typical brother vs. brother family drama.

You Might As Well Live

Directed by Simon Ennis

You Might As Well Live is a brilliantly raucous absurd comedy that centers around Robert R. Mutt, the town fool who is out to prove himself as a “real somebody” by following the advice of his boyhood hero, a local baseball star, who advises him to find a lady, money and a championship ring.

DOCUMENTARY FEATURES

45365

Directed by Bill Ross

45365 is the postal code for Sidney, Ohio, a small town with a population of 20,000, located just north of Dayton. It’s a very middle-of-the-road town, apparently not yet overrun by Best Buys and Cheesecake Factories. It reminds us that the simple, Rockwell-ian town still thrives, yet it’s a wide variety of personalities that make it memorable.

Autistic Like: Graham’s Story

Directed by Erik Lithorst

The documentary Autistic-Like: Graham’s Story chronicles the Linthorst’s search for answers, for an accurate diagnosis and for an understanding of their child. In the process they uncover more questions and misunderstandings and are strongly guided by what seems to be nothing short of a revelation. Autistic-like isn’t only an interesting look into the phenomenon of autism and its stigma and treatment, it’s also a captivating story of the emotions parents face when their child is diagnosed with a development disorder.

Beauty of the Fight

Directed by John Urbano In 1989, the United States invaded the country of Panama to capture its dictator Manuel Noriega, deploying 24,000 soldiers and dropping over 400 bombs. The effects were drastic, leaving thousands homeless. Two decades later, photographer John Urbana travels to the barrios of El Chorrillo and Barrazo, falling in love with its people and rich culture through an exploration of the ravaged communities. Â Beauty of the Fight is a celebration of a people forced to fight an uphill battle.

Branson

Directed by Brent Meeske

For nearly two decades, Branson, Missouri has hailed as the entertainment capital of the Midwest. Often marginalized as a vacation destination for senior citizens, it attracts seven million visitors per year. Branson pulls back the curtain and explores the often challenging lives of these performers, giving a fascinating look at those who will make heavy sacrifices to entertain.

Courting Condi

Directed by Sebastian Doggart

Perhaps the greatest docu-trago-comedy musical ever made, Courting Condi follows one man’s journey to win the heart of the woman of his dreams, former Secretary of State, Ms. Condoleezza Rice. Composed of a combination of real interviews and scripted scenes, the partial mockumentary includes over-the-top musical numbers written and composed by Sasha Gordon, Jess King, Kerry Shaw and two-time Oscar nominee Carol Connors. Ms. Connors has a hilarious cameo in the film, as does Entourage star Adrian Grenier. Oh yeah and George W. Bush plays himself.

Forgetting Dad

Directed by Rick Minnich

45-year-old Richard Minnick is rear-ended outside of a parking lot and as a result he suffers from total amnesia, now a stranger to his loved ones, he moves away to start a brand new life. Sixteen years later his son Rick returns to California to piece together what happened. Through interviews, home movies, and medical reports, Rick amasses a strong case that his father may very well be faking his amnesia. Forgetting Dad is unlike any documentary out there, framed as a mystery thriller with jaw-dropping payoffs.

General Orders No. 9

Directed by Robert Persons

It’s difficult to deny that the American landscape has transformed from trees, plains, mountains and streams to strip malls, corporate chains, parking lots and interstate highways. General Orders No. 9 is a study of such tragic reality. However, the film isn’t a straightforward documentary about this issue or how to resolve it. Instead it’s a meditative study of what once was and the little that remains.

God’s Architects

Directed by Zachary Godshall

God’s Architects is a meditative documentary about the enigmatic men who believe themselves to be chosen by God to build massive, elaborate structures. The film takes us across the country to examine these monuments and figure out why these men dedicate themselves to such exhausting projects, leaving us with an unforgettable look at art and devotion.

Homegrown

Directed by Robert McFalls

Director Robert McFalls presents an interesting portrait of an eccentric family that is doing their part to reduce human impact on the planet. Instead of focusing on environmental politics and related issues, McFalls turns his camera on the socially responsible to pave an example.

Luckey

Directed by Laura Longsworth

Luckey, an ironic play on words, tells the story of Tom Luckey, the leading creator of children’s abstract climbing sculptures in the world that becomes paralyzed due to a freak accident and leans on his son to help him carry on his legacy. Luckey explores the complications of being handicapped, yet goes so much deeper.

Official Rejection

Directed by Paul Osborne

What the hell is a film festival anyway? Official Rejection doesn’t just answer the question; it also gives its audience an insider’s look into what it means to be a filmmaker attempting to make ones’ way around the film festival circuit. Official Rejection features interviews with Kevin Smith, Bryan Singer, Lloyd Kaufman, Jenna Fischer, Andy Dick, Traci Lords, Troy Duffy, Chris Gore, Jennifer Tilly and more.

Scarred Justice

In February of 1968, police opened fire on a nonviolent protest on a Black college campus. Three students were killed and another twenty-eight were wounded. Scarred Justice tells the story of one of the most violent, yet little known events in the Civil Rights Movement.

Shooting Beauty

Directed by Bestor Cram & Judy Richardson

Shooting Beauty not only sheds light on the creative process, but also gets involved with the intricacies of living with disabilities. The film closely follows the private lives of several of Courtney Bent’s photography students, including: Tom, a cynical and reluctant participant-turned-star-talent, E.J., a self-proclaimed “bad dude” who operates the shutter release with his mouth and rides his chair in traffic, and Cheryl, a love-sick girl who lacks the ability to vocalize her feelings.

The Dungeon Masters

Directed by Keven McAlester

The Dungeon Masters is an exploration of the subculture of role-playing games, specifically Dungeons & Dragons, which for over 30 years has offered gamers the chance to escape their mundane lives and participate in a world they might otherwise never experience. Popularity and power are based on creativity and imagination rather than social status or wealth, and success is based not on who you know but on what you do.

The Tiger Next Door

Directed by Camilla Calamandrei

The Tiger Next Door does an incredible job of questioning the line between kindhearted concern and delusional compulsion. The documentary is not just the story of one man and his questionable practices; it’s a compelling explication of exotic animal trade in America of which statistics estimate that there are currently more tigers in private captivity in America than there are roaming wild in the entire world.

They Came to Play

Directed by Alex Rotaru

They Came to Play chronicles the prestigious Fifth International Piano Competition for Outstanding Amateurs, hosted by The Van Cliburn Foundation. The documentary follows several extremely talented amateur pianists, including Birmingham ophthalmologist, Dr. Drew Mays, as they try to balance the demands of the competition and their personal lives.

We Fun (screened OFF Summer Series 2009)

Directed by Matthew Robison

We Fun intimately captures raucous live performances from some of Atlanta’s hippest rock bands while gaining insight from the musicians, the promoters, the fans, and the record labels. Well known acts like The Black Lips, Deerhunter, King Kahn and the Shrines, and Mastodon are prominent, along with lesser known but equally captivating groups like The Carbonas, The Subsonics and more.

We Live In Public

Directed by Ondi Timoner

We Live in Public examines the life and times of media artist, Internet entrepreneur, futurist and visionary Josh Harris. Referred to as “the greatest Internet pioneer you’ve never heard of” and the “Warhol of the Web”, Harris founded Jupiter Communications, the first Internet market research company, as well as the first Internet television network, Pseudo.com.

SPECIAL SCREENINGS

Crude

Directed By Joe Berlinger

An intensely disturbing advocate centered documentary, Crude focuses on corporate wrongdoing and extreme environmental catastrophe. Directed by renowned filmmaker Joe Berlinger (Brother’s Keeper, Paradise Lost, Metallica: Some Kind of Monster) and three years in the making, Crude is one of the most highly anticipated documentaries of 2009. At the center of the film is a landmark case that takes place in the Amazon jungle of Ecuador. The case involves marginalized indigenous rainforest residents battling U.S. big oil, specifically Texaco and current owners, Chevron.

Dead Snow

Directed By Tommy Wirkola

Nazi zombies! The story goes something like this: Seven college students head to a secluded cabin in the woods for an Easter holiday vacation. They drink, smoke, hangout. There’s a knock on the door, it’s a mysterious stranger who warns the group that the area where they are vacationing has a horrible, troubled history. The wayward hiker cautions the youngsters to do the smart thing and pack up and get out. He departs and the group shrugs and head straight back to drinking. That is, until the bodies begin to pile up. Sound familiar? That’s because Dead Snow is an ingeniously self-reflexive comedy-horror film from a bunch of crazy-talented Norwegians. It is an immodest homage that tips its hat at all the greats from Friday the 13th to Evil Dead. A central character even sports a Braindead (Dead Alive) t-shirt and chatters about Sam Raimi. One difference between Dead Snow and most of the 1980s classics that it salutes is its aesthetic. Dead Snow is highly stylized and has more of the look of high-definition, big budget commercial projects than the warmth and grain of vintage horror cinema. The American premiere of Dead Snow was held this past winter at the Sundance Film Festival, directly after IFC Films purchased the US distribution rights. Nazi zombies!

Guest of Cindy Sherman
Presented in partnership with the Collector’s Circle of the Birmingham Museum of Art

Directed By Tom Donahue & Paul Hasegawa-Overacker
Years in the making, Guest of Cindy Sherman initially launched with the approval and support of interestingly elusive and immensely talented photographer and visual artist Cindy Sherman and ended with the breakup of the relationship and the withdrawal of consent by the visual artist. Ironically, Paul H-O points out that his identity had been sucked up by the overwhelming presence of a woman who goes to great lengths in her own work to hide any true identity of her own. As if reflexive of questions posed by Sherman’s work, an undercurrent of the documentary asks if such an investigation, alone, is innately misogynistic. One wonders where would Ms. Sherman weigh in on such? Featured are interviews with celebrity significant others, such as David Furnish, Panio Gianopoulos and April Gornik. Better known as Elton John’s husband, Molly Ringwald’s husband and Eric Fischl’s wife. Part love story, part portrait of an established artist, part profile of an aspiring celebrity, part personal journey, part investigation into the Soho art scene of the 90s and New York art world, Guest Of Cindy Sherman is a unique and interesting examination that provides a rare glimpse into the exclusive and elusive world of art and artist.

Say My Name
Directed By Nirit Peled

Say My Name communicates the struggles, conflicts and triumphs of female MC’s, R&B singers, rappers and hip-hop artists. The film focuses on female artists and the women who they’ve inspired, all who reside in a variety of multicultural inner cities. From the Bronx, the birthplace of hip-hop, to the Eastside of London, Say My Name covers a lot of ground. Included are communities in London, New York City, Chicago, Philadelphia, Detroit, Los Angeles and Atlanta. The documentary features rappers and singers from old school, big influencers like Sparky Dee and Roxanne Shante to current phenomenon like Georgia Girls and Estelle. Say My Name’s roster of interviews is long and includes Eryka Badu, Mc Lyte, Jean Grae, Remy Ma, and Monie Love.

Taxidermia
Presented in partnership with the SHOUT Gay & Lesbian Film Festival

Directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet
A grandfather, a father, and a son, are all linked together by recurring motifs. The dim grandfather, an orderly during World War II, lives in his bizarre fantasies; he desires love. The huge father seeks success as a top athlete “speed eater” in the post-war pro-Soviet era. The grandson, a meek, small-boned taxidermist, yearns for something greater: immortality. He wants to create the most perfect work of art of all time by stuffing his own torso. Historical facts and surrealism become intertwined as magical reality.

So Long are You Young
Directed by Judith Shaeffer

So Long Are You Young charts the journey and influence of a poem written by Birmingham businessman, author and humanitarian Samuel Ullman in 1917 and its unlikely influence on Robert and Ted Kennedy, Konosuke Matsushita, Nobel Peace Prize winner and president of Korea, Kim Dae-jung  and General Douglas MacArthur who shared the poem with a demoralized post- war Japan and subsequently influenced generations of Japanese.

We Live in Public
Directed By Ondi Timoner
From, Ondi Timoner, the award-winning Director of DiG! (Sidewalk 2004), We Live In Public examines the life and times of media artist, Internet entrepreneur, futurist and visionary Josh Harris. Referred to as “the greatest Internet pioneer you’ve never heard of” and the “Warhol of the Web”, Harris founded Jupiter Communications, the first Internet market research company, as well as the first Internet television network, Pseudo.com. Timoner is the only director to win the Sundance Grand Jury Prize twice, recently for We Live In Public and in 2004 for DiG!. She also directed the haunting documentary Join Us (Sidewalk 2007).

For the full schedule, visit Sidewalk.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. August 25, 2009 3:44 pm

    Great Blog post. I am going to bookmark and read more often. I love the Blog template if you need any assistance customizing it let me know!

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