The second annual Derby City Film Festival kicks off Friday

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The Oscars aren't until March 7. And to help hold you movie lovers over until then, head to this weekend's (Feb. 19 to 21) second annual Derby City Film Festival, taking place at the Clifton Center (2117 Payne St.). Prices range from $6 for a single screening to $40 for a three-day pass.

This town has several movie festivals — the Jewish Film Festival (going on right now); Louisville's International Festival of Film (last October); the Louisville Film Society's Flyover Film Festival (this June) — but Derby City Film Festival co-founder Kris Rommel says the event he runs with his wife has started to establish its own identity. "First and foremost, we focus on true independent films, not films backed by Hollywood money," he says. 

This year that crop includes some 50 features, documentaries, shorts and international entries into the juried competition. Some were filmed in Louisville or made by directors from Louisville and the surrounding area. One documentary is about a Louisvillian who has won more than 200 Senior Olympic medals. "Blue King," a feature about a porn director, showcases several shots around our city. 

"There's still an education process when it comes to independent film. They're not all whacked-out movies made by directors on acid," Rommel says. "Some people think independent films are just Andy Warhol art-house pictures about watching paint dry for two hours. And they're not. If you're a person who goes to movies regardless of who's in it — because of the writing or directing or because you just like really well-made films — there's going to be something here for you."  

The first screening — a series of shorts that includes "Clones Gone Wild" — is 7 p.m. Friday; the final feature, "In Mysterious Ways" — partly filmed in Louisville and about a man who finds something at a yard sale that helps him discover meaning in his life — is Sunday at 6 p.m. 

And for the heck of it — and because I'm one of those people who can't wait for the Academy Awards — here's how I rank the best picture Oscar nominees I've seen: 

1. "Avatar"

2. "Inglourious Basterds"

3. "The Hurt Locker"

4. "Up in the Air"

5. "District 9"

6. "Up"

7. "Precious"

8. "The Blind Side" 

(Have not yet seen "An Education" or "A Serious Man.") 

Photo courtesy: Derby City Film Festival

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