You'll have to forgive me if this is all starting to sound a bit hyperbolic, but the Longbaugh Film Festival starts next week (April 6-9), and we have an amazing lineup of films. You can get the lowdown on everything by going to or by picking up a program guide at locations throughout the city.

If there is a problem with Longbaugh this year, it's that there are so many great films there's no way you'll be able to see them all. In Lil' Longbaugh, the returning showcase of films for children and families, there are the hilarious short Special People and the Oscar-winning documentary The Children's March, both of which are so good we decided to screen them for older audiences as well. Meanwhile, in the main body of Longbaugh we have some stuff you won't soon forget, from the emotionally powerful drama September 12th, an intense character study of a woman killed in the attack on the World Trade Center, to the equally compelling documentary Time in the Barrel: Death and Life in Vietnam, which chronicles the return of six Marine veterans to Vietnam. And if there is one film that's sure to get people talking and maybe ruffle a few feathers, it's got to be The God Who Wasn't There, a documentary that sets out to prove that Jesus was little more than a myth created to control the masses.

On the lighter side, there are also some great films to make you laugh. Clocking in at just four minutes, Closing Time is absolutely hilarious. It screens with the equally funny feature The Hole Story. One of the funniest films this year is Electric Apricot: Quest for Festeroo, the feature debut of Les Claypool. Best known as the bass player of Primus, Claypool proves himself to be equally adept at comedy as he writes, directs and stars in this laugh-out-loud comedy about a pseudo-hippie jam band struggling to become a success. Claypool will be in town for the Portland premiere of Electric Apricot.

I wish I could recommend just one or two films at Longbaugh above all others, but it simply can't be done. With over 100 features, shorts and documentaries, there really are too many great movies to choose from (sorry about that). But rather than being deterred by the selection, simply jump into the thick of it—use Longbaugh as an excuse to gset excited about what is going on in the world of independent filmmaking. After all, that's what the festival is there for.