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Sidewalk Film Festival is back in downtown Birmingham this weekend, but with special COVID-19 protocols

For the second year in a row, the COVID-19 pandemic is changing the game for the annual Sidewalk Film Festival, taking place this weekend in Birmingham.

Last summer, because of COVID-19, Sidewalk moved from its traditional home on the streets and among venues across several blocks of downtown Birmingham to a drive-in complex in Leeds.

This weekend’s 23rd annual festival has filmgoers back downtown. But with the delta variant raging and COVID-19 infections rising again, festival officials have put in place strict protocols for attendees that include wearing masks and showing proof of vaccination or proof of a negative COVID-19 test within 48 hours prior to entry.

“We thank you for your patience and understanding as we work to adapt to the many circumstances of this year’s festival that are beyond our control,” festival officials said in a post this week on the festival website.

The festival actually kicked off Monday, Aug. 23, with limited evening showings of “spotlight” films at the Sidewalk Film Center, located in the restored Pizitz building on Second Avenue North. Spotlight films continue through Aug. 26.

The full weekend lineup of Sidewalk films launches with the traditional opening night film at 7 Friday, Aug. 27, at the Alabama Theatre on Third Avenue North. This year’s opening night feature is the acclaimed documentary “Television Event,” about the making and impact of a 1983 made-for-television movie, “The Day After” – a fictional account of a nuclear attack and its effect on a small, Kansas town – that drew an enormous nationwide audience.

As in past years, Sidewalk’s weekend lineup includes dozens of independent feature-length and short films, including comedies and horror films, musicals and classics, animation, documentaries and films with Alabama themes. Special “ScreenTalks” and panel discussions with filmmakers round out the weekend’s offerings.

“We are beyond excited to be back downtown for Sidewalk 2021,” festival Creative Director Rachel Morgan said in a post on the festival website. “We believe that we’ve crafted a balanced lineup filled with the best, recent, theatre-worthy indie films spanning all genres, along with the occasional throwback and special event.”

Alabama Power is a sponsor of the Sidewalk Film Festival.

To see the full Sidewalk lineup, including links to movie trailers, click here. To view details of the COVID-19 protocols for the festival, click here. Festivalgoers are strongly advised to read the protocols and the requirements carefully before coming to the festival.

For ticket information, click here.

(Courtesy of Alabama NewsCenter)