An underground celebration; Critic's choice: Film


The first year, it was held in a former funeral home. Its main venue last year was a vacant storefront that's now the Baltimore Tattoo Museum. This year, Baltimore's annual MicroCineFest is moving up -- to a Falls Road loft space known as the, ahem, G-Spot.

MicroCineFest '99, a five-day celebration of nearly 100 low-budget underground films and videos from around the world, is right at home in such alternative spaces (though it opens and closes this year at the revamped Charles Theater).

The short, subversive fare it serves up are among the last true "independent" films, flying far below the radar of bigger, more commercial festivals.

Highlights of this year's fest: "Specters of the Spectrum" by microcinema god Craig Baldwin ("Sonic Outlaws") on opening night; Mike Mitchell's "Herd" and the excruciatingly brilliant animated short "Hangnail"; and closing night film "Existo" by Coke Sams (from the team that brought you those "Ernest" movies).

The full schedule of screenings and events, which run from Nov. 3 to Nov. 7, can be found on the festival Web site: www.bcpl. net/~bfink/microcinefest.

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