Like Gen-X nostalgia, animation won't be going away anytime soon. Consider Fantastic Mr. Fox, Wes Anderson's stop-motion-animated adaptation of Roald Dahl's children's book, which officially opens the fourth San Francisco International Animation Festival Thursday evening.
But the medium has so much more to offer than all-star voice talent (Clooney, Streep) and impeccably tailored puppets from the maker of Rushmore and The Royal Tenenbaums. How much more apparently is still being determined -- there are many absurdly vivid and highly disciplined imaginations working on the question as we speak -- but in the meantime this festival has packed plenty into five days.
The schedule includes a live animation event, four unique and thematically adventurous shorts programs, a feature length anime-style documentary, a slate of vintage live-action-cartoon-hybrid works from Walt Disney, music videos for Britney Spears and Feist and Metallica and Fleet Foxes, a renowned local artist's riff on Jaws, several potent explications of human relations, a few peeks into the secret lives of household objects, various paeans to nonconformity, and at least one weird, vaguely The Wall-esque ditty in which it doesn't matter that nobody wears pants, as long as they all wear the right colored shirts.
You're going, right?
It's PR-speak but it's also true that this little festival, one of many shrewdly programmed outings from the San Francisco Film Society, "celebrates San Francisco's prominence as a hub for one of the most creative cinematic forms." I'll be there, to find out exactly what that means, and I'll get back to you.
The Fourth San Francisco International Animation Festival runs from November 11-15, 2009, at Landmark's Embarcadero Center Cinema in San Francisco. For tickets and information, visit sffs.org.