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This weekend there will be dueling film festivals in downtown Durham, and they're equally essential. In one corner--the Durham Arts Council--is the third annual Ms. Films Festival, which begins Friday, Feb. 27. In the other corner--the Carolina Theatre--is the sixth annual North Carolina Jewish Film Festival, starting on Saturday.

Ms. Films is a combination workshop and screening program dedicated to the work of women filmmakers. A generous array of workshops will cover technical and logistical issues of filmmaking, and this year's guest artist, Pat Doyen, will introduce students to her experimental techniques. But it's not all classwork: There will be two programs of shorts. Visit www.msfilms.org for more information.

The North Carolina Jewish Film Festival boasts an appealing mix of documentaries, comedies and dramatic features about the Jewish experience. It's largely a family event, with the adult-themed films scheduled later in the evening. Among the highlights are Taking Sides and Almost Peaceful, both of which will screen on Saturday's opening night program. For more information, go to www.carolinatheatre.org .

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