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San Francisco International Animation Festival Kicks Off Fourth Year

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You know, not many film festivals get a kick-off party and an opening night celebration, but that just goes to show how hip and vibrant the San Francisco International Animation Festival is. To be fair, the kick-off celebration—8 p.m. this Wednesday at the Mezzanine—includes animated shorts accompanied by live musical performances. Nifty! The opening night party is more about the free wine and appetizers. You can get into that simply by purchasing a ticket to either the 7 p.m. or 9:30 p.m. screenings of “Fantastic Mr. Fox.” All that takes place at the Embarcadero Center Thursday night.

Let’s back up for a minute. Yes, “Fantastic Mr. Fox” will have its San Francisco premiere at the SFIAF. So if you’re a Roald Dahl fan or a Wes Anderson fan or simply a person who likes talking animal movies, you’re in for a treat. And there are plenty of other films to see. On Friday, November 13, you can catch a series of shorts called “The Breakdown” at 7 p.m. It looks … kind of sad. Full-length feature more your style? Stick around for the 9 p.m. screening of “A Town Called Panic,” the only stop-motion animated film to appear at the Cannes Film Festival. On Saturday at 7:45 p.m., check out the U.S. premiere of “Musashi: The Dream of the Last Samurai,” which is—get this—an anime-style documentary. Then there’s the Swedish “Metropia”: neat look and impressive voice cast. That premieres on Sunday at 3:30 p.m.

All of these films are at the Embarcadero Center Cinema. For a full SFIAF schedule and to buy tickets, head to the San Francisco Film Society website.