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The 14th Annual SA Film Festival 

There have only been two animated feature films released this year (Horton Hears a Who and Kung Fu Panda), so it was worthwhile to attend the third day of the SAFF where the line up of short films included a few nice animations.

The very first one – and my favorite of the afternoon – was Berlitad, a 10-minute short from Mexico City, directed by Pablo Angeles. The film is about a small, salmon-colored alien who dreams of a life more fulfilling than having to work a monotonous job in a machine-parts factory. The animation is beautifully imagined and well-drawn. For those of you who didn’t get a chance to make it to the Instituto on Saturday, you can see Berlitad here.

In Invisible Master, San Antonio director Mike Fisher introduced the audience to a character known as a nanosapien, a sort-of robotic superhero who travels through the human bloodstream in a spaceship to fight disease. With a techno soundtrack beating throughout the nanosapien’s journey and some trippy visuals, Master was an entertaining 4-minute infomercial on living a healthy life.

From Portland, Oregon, director Holly Klein presented her film Maggie and Mildred, a story about two young girls and the fun time they have together during the day. I had never seen an animation like this one. The characters looked like they were made from needlework. I could see Klein stitching together a series of these and a channel like PBS Kids picking it up. It was very sweet and charming.

Finally, there was Red Princess Blues from Hollywood, Florida. More of a 10-minute character-development prequel to set up the upcoming feature-length film, RPB is an anime film that follows Princess, a 12-year-old girl who is taken in by a man named Nino. Nino has promised her father he would take care of her. With a heart full of vengeance, Princess discovers the “Book of Violence” among the stacks of books in Nino’s home. (The “Book of Violence” is basically a series of books with the pages cut out to fit knives and guns). I really liked Princess’s last line of the short: “I hope I never have to use what I learned from those books, but something tells me, I’m not going to be that lucky.”) Great set up for the film, don't you think? A few months ago, I was ab