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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.

For information go to

Scary Movies 3 Haunting NYC Again!

Once again, the Film Society at Lincoln Center is holding its fest of Halloween horror fare at the Walter Reade Theater from October 12-22, 2009. The 18-film series also features appearances by genre legends such as John Landis and Eric Red

Three of the newest horror films are presented, led by a special screening of the new film Paranormal Activity. Directed by Oren Peli, this is the long-awaited independent thriller reminiscent of The Blair Witch Project and Cloverfield in its use of the found-footage device. A young couple move into a new house, and soon not only hear and fear the sounds in the night, but try to capture the cause on videotape, with terrifying results. With Katie Featherson and Micah Sloat.

This is also the New York Premiere of Macabre, directed by the Mo Brothers, from Indonesia. The film starts out as so many do, with a group of young friends who help a young girl get home and are invited to stay, with predictable results. But this film is crafted by the Mo Brothers in ways that make it uniquely their own. 

Read more: Scary Movies 3 Haunting NYC Again!

Extremely Hungary Honors Hungarians in Hollywood

Extremely Hungary is a yearlong festival showcasing contemporary Hungarian visual, performing, and literary arts in New York and Washington, D.C., throughout 2009.

As part of this year's festival, BAMcinématek Movie Series is presenting Hungarians in Hollywood at BAM Rose Cinemas from October 7 to October 27, 2009. This program highlights the extraordinary contributions made by Hungarian artists to the history of American Film, from the Hollywood Golden Age to the New Cinema of the 70’s and the Independent 80’s. 

Included are films by: directors Michael Curtiz, André De Toth, Charles Vidor and George Cukor; producers Adolph Zukor, Alexander and Zoltan Korda; actors Bela Lugosi, Peter Lorre, Johnny Weissmuller, Ilona Massey and Zita Johann; writers Melchior Lengyel and Lajos Biró; cinematographers Vilmos Zsigmond and László Kovács; and composer Miklós Rózsa. Some of the films to be screened: 

Stranger Than Paradise (1984),directed by Jim Jarmusch, with John Lurie, Eszter Balint, Richard Edson. Introduction by actress Eszter Balint.

Lisztomania (1975), directed by Ken Russell, with Roger Daltry

Beach Red (1967), directed by Cornel Wilde, with Cornel Wilde, Rip Torn.

Man in the Saddle (1951), directed by André de Toth, with Randolph Scott, Joan Leslie. A Cinemachat with film critic Elliott Stein will follow the 6:50pm screening.

Blow Out (1981), directed by Brian De Palma, with John Travolta, Nancy Allen, John Lithgow.

Dracula and The Mummy Double Feature: Dracula (1931), directed by Tod Browning, with Béla Lugosi; screens with The Mummy (1932), directed by Karl Freund, with Boris Karloff, Zita Johann.

Five Graves to Cairo (1943), directed by Billy Wilder, with Franchot Tone, Anne Baxter, Erich von Stroheim

Passage to Marseille (1944), directed by Michael Curtiz, with Humphrey Bogart, Claude Rains, Michèle Morgan, Peter Lorre.

Extremely Hungary's festival reveals the roots of Hungary’s thriving contemporary culture and its impact on American society through a broad spectrum of events at leading cultural institutions in the two cities. Extremely Hungary is organized by the Hungarian Cultural Center in New York.

For more information:

The Hungarian Cultural Center
447 Broadway, NYC 10013

BAM Rose Cinemas
30 Lafayette Avenue
Brooklyn, NY
Call 718.636.4100
or visit

Next On The Circuit: the Chicago International Film Festival

With the Toronto and New York Film Festivals over, the next major stop on the Festival circuit is The Chicago International Film Festival--now in its 45th annual edition. Most of the films  have be spotlighted at these and other festivals, which is only fair, since the people of the Windy City deserve a chance to see these films as much as the Big Apple and T.O.--right?

That’s what festival founder Michael Kutza felt in 1964, when he and his friends at Cinema/Chicago decided to start the event. First held in 1965, it has been a beloved institution ever since.

Getting off the Red Line, at Grand Street, The Festival is just three shor-tsh blocks east, and one block south, to the AMC River East 21--right next to the Lucky Strike Bowling Alley. There’s nothing particularly special about this particular googolplex aside from it’s location, but it’s that view of some of the most amazing architecture in the American Midwest that makes worth the trip…aside from the movies, of course.

This year,  they’re going to show such favorites as Lars Von Trier’s Antichrist, Oren Moverman’s The Messenger, Lone Scherfig’s An Education, and John Woo’s Red Cliff.

The big premiere at this year’s festival is David Bowers’ Astroboy, a big screen fully-computerized extravaganza retelling the origin of Amine’s version of Mickey Mouse®. This is not to denigrate Katherine Deickmann’s Motherhood, which is opening the festival, it’s just that Astroboy may very well be the real Oscar® contender to come out of here.

This festival is, like most others of its size, is divided into categories: the Main Competition, which is for an award called the Golden Hugo (which is also the name for another, more prestigious award for science fiction); New Directors; the Galas; The Shorter Side of Things, for, naturally, shorts; After Dark, for horror and weirder stuff; then there’s the ethnic sections: Black Perspectives, for African American films; Cinema of the Americas, for Latinos; ReelWomen, for the ladies; OUTrageous, for gay community; Animation Nations, for toons; and Illinois[e]makers, for local productions.

Then there are the parties. Chicago isn’t called the Second City for nothing, and there are going to be movie stars galore. The whole thing lasts about two weeks, from October 8th through the 22nd, 2009.

For more info go to:

The Chicago International Film Festival
October 8th - the 22nd, 2009
AMC River East 21


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