Magazine article Screen International

Tokyo Plays It Cool

Magazine article Screen International

Tokyo Plays It Cool

Article excerpt

Tokyo International Film Festival (Oct 23-31) adds new venues and an increased focus on Japanese exports and Asian links.

The 27th Tokyo International Film Festival (October 23-31) has had increased backing from the Japanese government, which is advancing its 'Cool Japan' initiative to promote local content abroad. The festival is set for a major Asian push while at the same time showcasing Japanese animation, with an emphasis on promoting Japanese culture to the world.

Yasushi Shiina, director general of TIFF and TIFFCOM, says: "One of the important themes of this year's festival is to raise the profile of TIFF internationally. As key initiatives, we are showing animation films by acclaimed Japanese directors and also holding unique events such as the special event at Kabukiza Theatre, centre of a Japanese traditional performing art."

In addition to Kabukiza and its already established Roppongi Hills venue, TIFF has also added Toho Cinemas Nihonbashi and other venues across the city.

Endeavouring to create a more festive air, TIFF will this year also host film-related musical events and food stalls throughout its run. Actress Miki Nakatani, whose credits include Memories Of Matsuko and Ring, has taken on the duties of 'festival muse' this year, and will be on hand for key events.

The festival is also adding the Wowow viewer's choice award for the Competition section this year. Broadcaster Wowow will give a $10,000 cash prize to the winner.

In addition to more ambitious programming from across Asia, TIFF has announced that for the next seven years, UniJapan and the Japan Foundation will hold film culture exchange projects linking Japan and other Asian countries at the festival.

These projects include a Spirit of Asia award to be given to a film from the Asian Future section for up-and-coming directors; and Crosscut Asia, a showcase of Asian films focusing on particular countries, film-makers, actors and themes. This year's inaugural Crosscut Asia will spotlight new Thai films.

Japan Foundation Asia Center and TIFF will also co-produce a series of omnibus films called Asian Three-Fold Mirror, which will each have three up-and-coming directors from Japan and Asia producing a triptych of films on a single topic.

Animation focus

Known as the only man Hayao Miyazaki would ever acknowledge as his apprentice, Hideaki Anno is to be honoured with a showcase of more than 40 of his works as animator, director and producer. These include films such as Nadia: The Secret Of Blue Water, Ultraman and films from the Evangelion series. …

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