Tokyo International Film Festival: spotlighting the young talents of the future of cinema
After a year in a more conventional format, the Tokyo International Film Festival (TIFF) has reopened with strict anti-pandemic measures, as well as a whole new programming structure.
This year’s film festival changed from Roppongi Avenue, where it was held for 17 years, to Hibiya, Yurakucho, Ginza region, where it was held from October 30 to November 8, 2021.
The film competition, canceled in 2020 due to the pandemic, returned with a total of 15 films from around the world competing for the festival’s Grand Prix.
Festival Ambassador Actress Ai Hashimoto spoke of âtranscending borders,â the theme of this year’s festival, during the opening ceremony.
She spoke about the different types of boundaries that exist in the world, including gender and culture, saying she believes cinema has the ability to foster understanding and compassion in order to embrace and transcend differences.
Shozo Ichiyama, well-known producer and head of the TOKYO FILMeX film festival, joined TIFF as programming director earlier this year and has already made several changes. Ichiyama has created two sections that focus on emerging filmmakers as one of the major changes.
The “Asian Future” section programmed by Kenji Ishizaka, and the “Japanese Cinema Splash” section, have been combined into one this year. âAfter speaking with Ishizaka, we agreed that good Japanese films from new filmmakers should compete with young filmmakers from the rest of Asia,â Ichiyama said.
Kenji Ishizaka, the lead programmer at TIFF, explains that he and Ichiyama decided it would be better to create a section where Japanese films can compete with other Asian films rather than sorting Japanese films into one section. And he wants to create an opportunity where young independent filmmakers can interact with each other and in doing so, together, they could create new projects.
âThere was a section called ‘Discover Asian Cinema’, which was not there this year. But I want to revive this kind of thing because film festivals tend to focus on new works, but I hope to discover and present important filmmakers and works in the history of Asian cinema in the near future â, Ishizaka said.
âEach work has its own characteristics but I highly recommend looking Someone’s flowers and The Nighthawk’s First Love from the âAsian Futureâ section. In Someone’s flowers, a person dies in an old Japanese housing complex that was once modern but now appears to be inhabited only by elderly people, and the mystery of whether it was an accident or an incident is what attracts you. I recommend it because it portrays the aging problem that Japan is currently facing through the theme of apartment complexes, âadded Ishizaka.
In the “Japanese animation” section, Hiroshi fujioka, the legendary actor who played the role of “Takeshi Hongo” – The first generation Kamen Rider, made an appearance during the chat event after the 50e anniversary screening of his drama series in small groups, Kamen Rider 1.
Kamen Rider, aka Masked Rider, is a Japanese media franchise of Tokusatsu TV shows, movies and manga created by acclaimed manga artist, Shotaro Ishinomori.
Tokusatsu is a Japanese term for “special effects” and most of them were practical, like the classic Godzilla.
Fujioka was delighted that the series continued after half a century.
He revealed that at this time, the way the kids looked at him encouraged him to take on the role. And when he realized that he was a hero who had to pass on love, courage, justice, hope and dreams to children, he felt a great responsibility, and that’s what moved him forward.
âThrough my work, I wanted to convey the spirit of Bushido and the strength of family relationships, as well as participate in works that expressed hope and joy beyond borders,â said Fujioka.
This year, TIFF also hosted several online events, including the Asia Lounge Conversation Seminar Series on Japanese Animation and Online Q&A After Film Screenings.
The films offered this year can be found here.
For more information, visit the film festival website, here.
âEvery year we do our best to present most of the best films in Asia. We are open to visitors from all over the world to the Tokyo International Film Festival, and I hope to have readers from JAPAN Before visit us in the future.??Kenji Ishizaka.
Author: Shaun Fernando