Sure, the big festivals like Tribeca are fun to attend, but every once and a while it's nice to settle into one of the smaller fests, where the seats are cheap, the beer is free and you're guaranteed plenty of entertainment. One of the things I love about The Big Apple Film Festival (now in its third year) is its focus on short films -- in fact (and here's a rarity in festival world), Big Apple will open this Thursday with a shorts program, instead of a feature. Refreshing, ain't it?

Some of the other highlights at this year's fest are the premieres of Everything's Jake (Friday night) and Searching for Bobby D. (Saturday night). Following the screening of Jake on Friday, Ernie Hudson (remember him from Ghost Busters?) will receive a lifetime achievement award. Also, on Saturday afternoon, there's a free panel discussion on indie film distribution featuring folks like Jason Leaf (co-President, Avatar Films), David Paterson (writer, Love Ludlow) and Cleo Godsey (Director of Business Affairs, First Run Features). Oh, and don't forget about the Horrorfest Series -- this year, four shorts will be featured including Witchwise and Penny Dreadful. Yours truly is on the fest's advisory board, and I'll also be there for most of the screenings -- so feel free to say hello (just look for the hot shot in the Cinematical t-shirt). For more info on Big Apple (which will be held at Tribeca Cinemas), check out the official website.