San Joaquin International Film Festival

"The First Beautiful Thing"

DOCS TO ANIMATION: Mid-March is certainly shaping up to be a fine time for interesting film in areas 'round these parts. After all, the Sebastopol Documentary Film Festival rolls from March 18-20, and the San Joaquin International Film Festival opens on Thursday, March 17. It's also coincidentally year four for both festivals, which are not related, except in the fact that they're a few hours a part and are both devoted to quality movie-watching.

SJIFF 2011: The festival opens with "The First Beautiful Thing," a big hit in Italy and other parts around the globe that also happened to be the Italian Foreign Language entry for the just-passed Oscars. There are several other great movies on the schedule, including "The Illusionist," which had its own Oscar nomination in the Best Animated Feature category. Weekend one of the fest is centered around Stockton; weekend two heads for Modesto.

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