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FILM/SNEAK PEEK : THE LONG VIEW ON FESTIVALS OF SHORT FILMS.

Byline: - Bob McCarthy

Festivals of short films are like a box of chocolates - you never know what you're going to get.

Happily, we brave these exhibitions with all the trepidation of picking through a Whitman's sampler because: 1) we're curious, 2) new talent and ideas are intriguing, and 3) hey, these are shorts. It's not like we won't see something in two hours that clicks.

Just such an assortment can be found today through Sunday at the second annual Los Angeles International Short Film Festival. A total of 76 films from around the world will be judged in the categories of best American film, best foreign film, animation comedy, drama, documentary and experimental.

The festival opens tonight with a gala at the Writers Guild Theatre, 135 S. Doheny Drive, Beverly Hills. All other events will be held at Barnsdall Art Park, 4800 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood.

As a treat for the 6- to 14-year-old set, Nickelodeon is sponsoring a kids' program of eight shorts from 10 a.m. to noon Sunday at Barnsdall Art Park. Comedy, drama, animation and experimental productions will be shown.

For tickets, call Tickets LA at (213) 660-8587, or buy them at the door. Programs before 5 p.m. are $5; those after 5 p.m. are $7. The festival hotline is (213) 427-8016.

And that's not all.

For those involved in the entertainment industry, there's the eighth annual UCLA Extension Short Fiction Films Premiere Screening at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday in Beverly Hills.

The films being shown are the products of a yearlong course, ``Making the Short Fiction Film.'' The filmmakers are from England, Iran, Germany, Switzerland and Vietnam. The American-born finalists hail from rural Louisiana, Wisconsin and Arizona.

They include a model/actress who was educated in Finland, a Vietnam-born and UCLA-educated physicist and a British filmmaker who was a hostage in Lebanon for 3-1/2 months in the mid-1970s.

This special event is free, but seating is limited. Films will screen at the Samuel Goldwyn Theatre at the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences, 8949 Wilshire Blvd. To RSVP, call UCLA Extension at (310) 825-9064, Ext. 7.

Mountaintop experience

Next month's Idyllwild Film Festival, Oct. 2-4, will feature a mix of feature films, shorts, documentaries and a chance to rub shoulders with celebrities in an alpine setting.

Actor Andy Garcia will be a VIP again this year, and his film ``The Scalper,'' directed by Richard Wenk and co-starring Andie MacDowell, will make its world premiere. Other premieres include: ``Isn't It Romantic,'' starring Alison Eastwood, Kimberly Williams, Jonathan Silverman and Lauren Hutton; and ``Hollywood Romance,'' which was chosen the best short at the recent Hollywood Film Festival.

A gala party at the Idyllwild Film Institute kicks off this year's festivities, followed by screenings at various venues in town. Passes are being sold by the institute. Call IFI at (909) 659-7733 or access its Web site. www.idyllwildfilm.com. for tickets or general information.

Liberated nation

With the breakup of the Eastern Bloc and Hungary's admission into the NATO alliance, a resurgence of creativity in that European nation is under way.

Laemmle's Music Hall Theatre in Beverly Hills is hosting a Hungarian Film Festival from Oct. 16-22 to demonstrate the rejuvenated spirit of this nation, whose ties with Hollywood can be traced back to the early years when Hungarian immigrants were predominant in the business. This exhibition is presented by Bunyik Entertainment with support from the Hungarian Motion Picture Foundation.

For information, call (818) 848-7395.

`Jazz on Film'

A two-week film exhibition titled ``Jazz on Film: The Harlem Connection'' begins Sept. 18 at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. It coincides with a museum exhibition covering the years from the Harlem Renaissance through the 1950s.

A photo shoot in the summer of 1958 brought together dozens of jazz greats, including Count Basie, Dizzy Gillespie, Charles Mingus, Thelonious Monk and Lester Young, and is the basis for the film ``A Great Day in Harlem,'' screening 7:30 p.m. Sept. 18. Director Jean Bach culls together clips of performances, home movies and interviews with the musicians in this extraordinary documentary.

Clint Eastwood's 1988 biographical film ``Bird'' about alto saxophonist Charlie Parker will screen afterward. Eastwood tracks Parker's drive and torment leading up to his death at age 35.

On Sept. 19, ``All Roads Lead to Harlem'' will show at 7:30 p.m. This compilation by jazz aficionado and archivist Mark Cantor peers into the Harlem scene and all the famous clubs, like the Cotton, as well as the out-of-the-way joints and the musical personalities that made that era special.

Tickets are $7 general admission, $5 for museum, AFI members, seniors and students. For ticket and program information, call (323) 857-6010.

CAPTION(S):

Photo

Photo: Forest Whitaker portrays saxophonist Charlie Parker in ``Bird,'' screening Sept. 18 as part of ``Jazz on Film: The Harlem Connection'' at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.
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Title Annotation:L.A. LIFE
Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Sep 11, 1998
Words:819
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