Free Briefs

If you are annoyed with epic films that tax the limits of your bladder, you'll be, uh, relieved to hear that it will probably take you longer to read this newspaper than to see any of the films featured at D-Studios' Long on Shorts film festival. All the films are 30 minutes or less, with many coming in under 10. Brevity is definitely the soul of wit--and drama, comedy, art and politics--during this two-Sunday fest at DMA's Horchow Auditorium, presented in partnership with The Robert J. O'Donnell Film Series.

Short films are often student projects or first films, and their compact simplicity is a pleasant alternative to the bloated, effects-heavy flicks at the local cineplex. These films demonstrate the discipline required, whether by budget or aesthetics, to tell stories in small spaces. Among the featured films, you will find those that are concise and humorous, like a live-action joke (such as The Moment of Accepting Life, festival co-director Rebecca Rice's pick for "Best Film"), and those that are somewhat affected, with a "serious" moral. You may prefer more off-kilter fare such as A Twist of Time, a nightmarish film that appeals to the obsessive-compulsive element in all of us.

Alchemy--festival co-director John Carstarphen's "Best Film" pick--is a small gem based on Anton Chekhov's short story "A Work of Art." While the plot is essentially "what goes around comes around," the camera captures the sets and characters in bold, graphic color with vivid depictions of space and scale. Or if you want to take a peek at the local talent, Dallas filmmaker David Haynes directs two shorts, Agave and The Hit Man. Best of all, admission is free for all screenings, with a reception both days following the films. Additional films will be screened at in the months following the festival. It's the only (sane) way to see 19 films in two days. Your bladder will thank you.