San Francisco International Animation Festival preview - Special Report

By Purple

Mark your calendars animation fans because next week the San Francisco Film Society presents the fourth annual San Francisco International Animation Festival. And while it's great to live in the bay area surrounded by the talented artists and animators that fill up the animation studios we're fortunate enough to have based here, the International film festival gives us a window to be able to see what's being done outside of this fertile crescent of technology we live in.

The festival kicks off with a party at Mezzanine on Wednesday November 11, which leads to opening night on next Thursday November 12 with the bay area premiere of the latest Wes Anderson movie, "The Fantastic Mr. Fox". Based on the story by Roald Dahl. Anderson's regular cast list of Bill Murray, Owen Wilson and Jason Schwartzman are joined by George Clooney and Meryl Streep as the voice talent for this stop motion animated feature. The Festival continues on Friday with a free seminar led by information designer Joy Mountford at the downtown San Francisco Apple store. And then a selection of animated films will be featured throughout next weekend at the Embarcadero Center cinema.

Here's a preview of a couple of films from the festival schedule. In case you didn't make it to the southeast corner of France this summer, you can still enjoy the line up of animated material that was celebrated at one of Europe's longest running animation festivals at a screening of "The Best of Annecy". "The Best of Annecy" includes works from several different countries where artists use multiple mediums to express themselves. The collection includes light hearted works like the weird and wacky pants free world of "The Man in the Blue Gordini" and the simple fun of the "Log Jam" forest critters along with the Internet favorite "Western Spaghetti". And "The Best of Annecy" also has a serious side, as it presents the striking short film "Slaves", which brings startling imagery to illustrate the horrors described by a pair of Sudanese children who were abducted and then rescued and interviewed on audio tape shortly after their ordeal. "The Best of Annecy" screens at 5:45 on Saturday the 14th and again at noon on Sunday.

The Festival closes on Sunday, November 15th, with the west coast premiere of "Metropia", a bleak yet beautiful tale of paranoia and passion in a dystopian future where Europe is united by a massive subway system called the Metro. While this sounds like a good thing, the overwhelming shades of gray of the world weighs heavily and it's not until the voices in the lead characters head as spoken by Vincent Gallo compels him to follow the mysterious women in red voiced by Juilliette Lewis does he start to become alive. "Metropia" may be dark but there's a lightness inside that's almost reminiscent of Terry Gilliam's "Brazil" and it will leave you thinking twice about watching the television and using your dandruff shampoo ever again.

So while the internet continues to be a fertile ground for aspiring animators to showcase their work, the communal experience of discovering and appreciating animation with a theater full of fellow fans can't be missed. For more information about The San Francisco International Animation Festival go to the web site at ( ). Looking forward to the US premiere of "Musashi: the dream of the Last Samurai" which appears Saturday night during the festival, for Movie Magazine, this is Purple.

© 2009 - Purple - Air Date: 11/04/09
Movie Magazine International