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SATURDAY

For many years, the “big budget, big awesome” Hollywood dictum held sway over mankind. Then, along came a show called America’s Funniest Home Videos and, to a lesser extent, a show called America’s Funniest People. Suddenly—with a certain graininess and a date in the bottom right of the screen—that ball was headed right for…oh! Wake up, world. This is real. Inspired and shamed by the raw simplicity of the groin groan, the world’s filmmakers got back to basics. Their renewed sense of artistic vigor can be seen in the D.C. screening of selections from the Hi/Lo Film Festival, a showcase of short films by women that previously screened at the San Francisco-based fest. Among the films so lo-budget they can’t afford the “w”: Reinvention, a touching doc about a sweet aging inventor, the woman who loves him, old-timey dancing, and the inventor’s gopher-killing machine; and Lesson One (pictured), a strange and hilarious chop-socky karate cartoon fashioned with South Park-style construction-paper animation. Of all the films at the lo-fi fest, only Dreaming in Code reminds me of my brief foray into computer science. It’s all here: sad people doing Ecstasy, sad people talking about doing Ecstasy, flickering monitors, sleeping in your office. This film is a timely reminder of the biggest lesson of the dot-com era: Computer nerds should never, ever try to be cool. The festival begins at 5 p.m. Saturday, March 8, at MOCA D.C., 1054 31st St. NW. $5. (202) 342-6230. (Josh Levin)