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 celebrationâ€”8 p.m. this Wednesday at the Mezzanineâ€”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 isâ€”get thisâ€”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.