1 - Don't make a film schedule. When I would preview movies for Sidewalk for Zoom Out, I would have a very specific list of the ones I still wanted to see, and would hop from venue to venue like a happy, little bunny. Even last year, while pregnant, I tried running (read: walking as fast as a really fat cat) to Urban Standard and then (still speed-walking like a fat cat) ate a kale salad on the way back to a screening. Not only was that a difficult trek, but I made it to the screening just in time-- to realize the seats were already FULL. Noooooo!
Just do not expect for a tight film schedule to work out, because 95% of the time, it surely won't... especially for fat, pregnant cats. In the words of Nacho Libre, "hey. take it easssy."
2 - Try out some balcony breastfeeding. I think that people who are down with public breastfeeding and the "normalize breastfeeding" movement are great! I am just pretty much a prude and that embarrasses me too much. (I mean a redheaded baby already gets sooo much attention, people. You have no idea!) But this year I finished one documentary and popped into a few scenes of another film all while feeding Rowan in the dark theater. Documentaries are perfect because they are usually quieter, and the dark, nearly deserted balcony = WIN! I saw Blood, Sweat, & Beer and part of the feature H. Muy interestante!
3 - Evaluate the weekend pass. This year, I wasn't reviewing any films and wasn't part of any film crew, so it was a difficult decision on whether or not it was worth the money to just "play it by ear" for a weekend pass. Luckily, I didn't have to decide, because we ended up winning VIP passes! However, if we had not, I think I would've picked some of the free family films to see and then bought a single ticket to see an interesting documentary like Babushkas of Chernobyl. (I laughed! I cried! It was so good. HarashO!). Then, you don't have to play that game where you feel the need to see a couple more films-- BUT all that's playing in your free block is some Swedish horror movie you have no interest in watching but feel oddly obligated to see. No, thanks.
4 - Enjoy the festival itself. One of the biggest parts of being a Type-A parent is SLOWING DOWN. (Or who am I kidding, really that's true for any type of parent!) Enjoying people-watching, running into friends, checking out food trucks, listening to the live music, etc. should be just as fun as the films! This year, Zack's lifelong pursuit of accumulating every piece of Indiana Jones apparel in existence paid off BIG TIME, and he won the opening night costume contest and our very own "Raiders" festival golf cart! Cue epic theme music: Dundundun DUUN!! Rowan had a blast riding in the cart, and I even got over my fear of driving it around regular traffic! But I feel so tinyyy and scared! Okay, just kidding, this is fun! WELCOME TO MARIO KART!
5 - McWane for the win! Now this tip doesn't apply to film festivals in general, but it is a great tip for my fellow Birmingham people! If you're a parent, you should get a McWane membership or ask for one for Christmas... IT'S A MUST. SO DON'T BE A DUMMY. The McWane center parking deck is smack-dab in the center of the festival and is free for members. While one of us was watching a film (I saw a cute Jason Schwartzman film), the other parental unit had Rowan playing his little heart out in Itty Bitty Magic City. Then we used our token to pay for parking, and voila! We still had to take some quick trips home for nap times, but this really helped to stretch our time at the festival without having to get someone to watch Rowan the whole day.
Now, I will leave you with my favorite #PregnantatSidewalk tweets. AND SCENE.