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4th Annual San Francisco International Animation Festival

The San Francisco Film Society presents the fourth annual San Francisco International Animation Festival (SFIAF), a five-day event from November 11 through 15, 2009, celebrating one of the most fertile, creative and productive forms of artistic, experimental, commercial and industrial media. SFIAF opens at Mezzanine, Wednesday, November 11 with a kickoff celebration, and screens November 12–15 at Landmark’s Embarcadero Center Cinema, with a special live event at the Apple Store (One Stockton Street), Friday, November 13.

This year’s International Animation Festival ranges from the premiere of a major Hollywood feature directed by an Oscar-nominated auteur to historic family-friendly short cartoons and celebrates San Francisco’s preeminence as a hub for one of the most vital forms in cinema today.

Wednesday, November 11, SFIAF presents a Kickoff Celebration of live music and animation. American underground avant-garde legend Lawrence Jordan will present live animation for the first time in his 50-plus-year career. Manning a 16mm analytic projector, Jordan will improvise the frame rate and rhythm to his cutout short film Ein Traum der liebenden (A Dream of Lovers), based on the live, plaintive musical accompaniment of local duo Pale Hoarse.

2 Blessed 2 Be Stressed follows, a collaboration between Paper Rad founding member Jacob Ciocci and musician David Wightman. Ciocci presents a mix of original videos and animations and his new performance I Let My Nightmares Go, employing video projection and dance moves to grapple with mental demons, Web 2.0, 21st-century breakdown, real lies, fake truths, cartoon violence and awareness bracelets. Wightman will join in, then perform solo as Fortress of Amplitude.

SFIAF is pleased to present Fantastic Mr. Fox as the Opening Night Premiere, directed by Wes Anderson. This stop-motion adaptation of Roald Dahl’s beloved children’s classic stars the voices of George Clooney, Bill Murray, Meryl Streep, Adrien Brody, Owen Wilson, Jason Schwartzman, and Willem Dafoe.

SF360 Live – Data in Motion: Information Design and Animation is the special program at the Apple Store. Visionary information designer Joy Mountford will present a fascinating survey on the different approaches to organizing data using methods of visuality and motion. An expert in the field of presenting data in motion, Mountford has mentored numerous artists and engineers through her work with Interval Research Corporation in Palo Alto and at the Interactive Telecommunications Program at NYU. Don’t miss this rare opportunity to learn about future trends in information design with one of the field’s leading thinkers.

Other screenings include:

The U.S. Premiere of Musashi: The Dream of the Last Samurai (Miyamoto Musashi: Soken ni haseru yume), directed by Mizuho Nishikubo, possibly the first anime-style documentary. Written by master anime director Mamoru Oshii (Ghost in the Shell) the film is set in Japan’s early Edo period during the early 17th century and focuses on the real-life events surrounding the development of the Niten Ichi-ryu (a classical style of Japanese swordsmanship) by Musashi Miyamoto.

Graphic artist Tarik Saleh directs his debut feature, Metropia, about a dystopian vision of a future—2024—in which corporate domination, market capitalism and urban sprawl hold society under total control and in an anxious state of (self-) surveillance. Starring the voices of Vincent Gallo, Stellan Skarsgård, Udo Kier and Juliette Lewis.

Walt Disney’s Alice Comedies, about a little girl filmed in live action and placed in a cartoon world, were the beginning of Walt Disney’s Hollywood studio, made between 1923 and 1927. SFIAF partners with the newly opened Walt Disney Family Museum to present a selection of these charming films. rarely screened in theaters.

The Best of Annecy
The Annecy International Animated Film Festival is widely regarded as the most important festival for animation in Europe. SFIAF is pleased to once again present a selection of the best shorts to have appeared in Annecy this year. Some films are:

Ex-E.T. by Benoît Bargeton, Yannick Lasfas, Rémy Froment, Nicolas Gracia (France). A playful and rather perverted child causes trouble on an alien planet where order and steadiness reign.

Please Say Something by David O’Reilly (Germany/Ireland). A troubled relationship between a cat and a mouse in the distant future.

Log Jam: The Log, The Rain, The Moon, The Snake by Alexey Alexeev (Hungary). Deep in the forest, three animals love nothing more than freestyle jammin’ with their customized instruments.

Another presentation is Play It by Eye, this year’s program of recent animated music videos—always a Festival favorite. The series mixes established vets including Roboshobo, Sean Pecknold and Joel Trussell with up-and-comers such as Claire Carré and design stalwart Frater Autokratz.

With everything from cutout and claymation to cutting-edge CGI, SFIAF continues to explore animation in all its forms,” said programmer Sean Uyehara. “The Festival approaches animation both as a multifaceted artistic practice and as a mode of production. As in the past, we’re presenting a wide range of works, from Wes Anderson’s new sure-fire blockbuster Fantastic Mr. Fox to the celebrated experimental works of artist Nate Boyce.”

San Francisco Film Society is a nonprofit arts organization dedicated to celebrating film and the moving image in all its glorious forms. SFFS year-round programs and events are concentrated in four core areas: Celebrating Internationalism, Inspiring Bay Area Youth, Showcasing Bay Area Film Culture and Exploring New Digital Media.

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