Wade on Birmingham

Sidewalk 2006: fin


This past weekend’s Sidewalk Moving Picture Festival was a winner. Great turnout, decent weather, fun parties and a strong slate made for an eighth outing worth remembering.

Before the final credits roll, a few more films we caught in the three-day frenzy …

“Class Act”: A superb and ultimately depressing documentary on the wholesale decimation of arts education in American schools. The film’s heart, drama teacher Jay Jensen, reminds us of why music, art and theater join math, English, history and science as core classes. Directed by Sara Sackner.

“Jesus Camp”: This even-handed doc on an evangelical camp aimed at young children is unlikely to change any minds. You’re as likely to be enraptured or enraged as before you saw it. Directed by Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady (“The Boys of Baraka”).

“The Sasquatch Dumpling Gang”: Friday’s opening night feature brought the laughs after a shaky start. This quirky adventure from the “Napoleon Dynamite” crew wants us, somewhat cynically, to both embrace and mock the losers entangled in the town’s obsession over a possible sasquatch sighting. Starring Justin Long and written and directed by Tim Skousen.

“Muskrat Lovely”: A rural county in Maryland rewards its prettiest girls and its quickest muskrat skinners in one annual event. This charming documentary goes beyond the small-town gawking to present a funny slice of its American life, including the correct way to prepare a muskrat meal. Directed by Amy Nicholson.

“In Memorium”: Dying cancer patient lives out his last precious days with his girlfriend in a rental house … video-blogging?? This “Blair Watch Project” goes awry, as bumps in the night and sores on the back make terminal illness even less fun. The scares were cheap, but overall, it was a solid effort. Written and directed by Amanda Gusack.

(We also caught part of “Progresso,” the doc on the Hoover missionaries building houses in Mexico, and “We Go Way Back,” a feature about a young woman dealing with her 13-year-old nagging self, and wish we had seen more.)

• • •

Action! Complete Sidewalk 2006 coverage.

Leave a Yip

Subscribe without commenting