Sidewalk Film Festival moving to drive-in for 2020

Sidewalk Film Festival announces new location

Organizers for Sidewalk Film Festival, Birmingham’s annual film festival historically held in the downtown Theatre District, announced today that this year’s event will transition to the outdoor location of The Grand River Drive-In at The Backyard in Leeds due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Sidewalk Film Festival

The 2020 event transition will provide this year’s attendees with a safe option to view the more than 150 features and short films set to screen during the Aug. 24-30 festival.

“We are thrilled that there is a unique, safe way to have Sidewalk this year despite the many obstacles that the ongoing coronavirus pandemic has presented,” said Chloe Cook, executive director for Sidewalk Film Festival and Sidewalk Film Center + Cinema. “We are thankful for the partnership with The Drive-In at Grand River and know that this year’s event will be one to remember for all involved.”

“The Grand River Drive-In is thrilled to be the home for the 2020 Sidewalk Film Festival. With all of the challenges facing our community right now, especially in the events industry, we are excited to be able to offer a venue in which people can attend this community-favorite event — all while having the space to still be able to practice social distancing measures,” said Hunter Lake, developer of The Backyard at Grand River.

“The Sidewalk Film Festival has a long and venerable tradition of showcasing the art of film, and we are very excited to be a part of this year’s event,” said Christine Strange, vice president of Operations of The Outlet Shops of Grand River. “We invite everyone to come out and enjoy these amazing movies under the stars.”

The 22nd Annual Sidewalk Festival at the Drive-In will screen films each evening on all four screens with some nights offering second films on each screen. Gates will tentatively open each day at 6:30 p.m. with the start of the first films of the night scheduled for 8 p.m. daily. This year’s Sidewalk Film Festival is sponsored by Regions Bank.

Sidewalk Film Festival

Check out the first seven feature films of the festival’s lineup:


  • Documentary, USA
  • Director: Bill Ross IV, Turner Ross
  • Runtime: 98 Minutes
  • Synopsis: A look at the final moments of a Las Vegas dive bar called ‘The Roaring 20s.’
  • IMDB


  • Narrative, USA
  • Black Lens, Life & Liberty
  • Director: David Midell
  • Runtime: 83 Minutes
  • Synopsis: Based on the true story of the events that led to the death of Kenneth Chamberlain Sr., an elderly African American veteran with bipolar disorder, who was killed during a conflict with police officers who were dispatched to check on him.
  • CLICK HERE for trailer
  • IMDB

3. EMA (2019)

  • Narrative, Chile
  • Shout/Sidewalk
  • Director: Pablo Larraín
  • Runtime: 107 Minutes
  • Synopsis: A couple deals with the aftermath of an adoption that goes awry as their household falls apart.
  • IMDB

4. JASPER MALL (2020)

  • Documentary, USA
  • Alabama Film
  • Director: Bradford Thomason, Brett Whitcomb
  • Runtime: 85 Minutes
  • Synopsis: A year in the life of a dying shopping mall in Jasper, Alabama.
  • IMDB

5. ROAR (1981)

  • Rated PG
  • Narrative, USA
  • Director: Noel Marshall
  • Runtime: 102 Minutes
  • Synopsis: No animals were harmed in the making of this movie, 70 members of the cast and crew were. Wildlife preservationist, Hank, lives harmoniously alongside a menagerie of over 100 untamed animals on a preservation in the African plains. When his wife and children arrive for a visit, a long-brewing battle for dominance between the lions erupts and threatens their very lives.
  • Trailer:
  • IMDB


  • Documentary, USA
  • Director: Miles Hargrove, Christopher Birge
  • Runtime: 85 Minutes
  • Synopsis: The story of a father’s kidnapping as told through the 1994 video diaries of his son, the film’s Director Miles Hargrove.
  • Website:
  • IMDB

7. SUZI Q (2019)

  • Documentary, USA
  • Director: Liam Firmager
  • Runtime: 98 Minutes
  • Synopsis: Story of trailblazing American rock singer-songwriter Suzi Quatro, who helped redefine the role of women in rock ‘n’ roll when she broke out in 1973.
  • IMDB

How to get tickets

Pre-event tickets for the first seven Sidewalk Film Festival at The Drive-In feature films are now on sale at

Additionally, onsite tickets will be available for each individual film and will be priced based on the number of individuals in each vehicle (one person per car = $15, two people per car = $26, three people per car = $35, four people per car = $42, and five people or more per car = $47).

Concessions and bar service will be provided by The Grand River Drive-In at The Backyard.