Tokyo International Film Festival (TIFF) opens with a packed red carpet for the first time in three years as the event appears to be recovering from two relatively understated editions held during the pandemic.
Fest chairman Hiroyasu Ando said during a lineup press conference that he expected about 100 foreign guests and participants to attend. A very limited number of visitors made the trip for the last two events.
The Japanese government has long maintained stricter restrictions on its borders than most other countries, and currently a daily limit of 50,000 inbound travelers remains in place. Further easing is expected by the time the party kicks off, with a parliamentary discussion on border controls for tomorrow.
TIFF will also revive the Kurosawa Akira Award, which is presented to filmmakers for contributions to global cinema, after a 14-year hiatus. Past recipients include Steven Spielberg, Yamada Yoji and Chen Kaige.
Kurosawa is “not only Japan’s most famous filmmaker” but also “a symbol of the connections between Japan’s film industry and the rest of the world,” said Ando, explaining why the award had been revived.
The screenings of 110 films, an increase of about a third from last year, selected from nearly 1,700 entries, will take place around the Hibiya-Yurakucho-Ginza-Marunouchi area, where it moved last year after a long time in the Roppongi Hills complex.
Asia and the Middle East are strongly represented in the competition, with 10 of the 15 selected films, including 8 world premieres, coming from the region or co-productions with countries from that part of the world.
Jury chair Julie Taymor is joined by Korean actress Shim Eun-kyung, Portuguese director Joao Pedro Rodrigues, French Marie-Christine de Navacelle and local cinematographer Katsumi Yanagijima.
The gala selection features 16 films from around the world, including Olivia Wilde’s Japanese premieres don’t worry baby and David O. Russell’s Amsterdamalong with Takahisa Zeze’s previously announced opener Fragments of the last will and Oliver Hermanus’s closing film to live.
Ten films from Asia and the Middle East, all world premieres, will be screened in the Asian Future category for emerging directors, while anime will once again be celebrated with a mix of new and classic works.
Actress Ai Hashimoto will serve as festival ambassador for the second consecutive year.
“If I may take the liberty of expressing my hopes at the festival, it would be that it will become a beacon of light for all ardent film buffs who are forced to make films despite the dire situations, and who strive to overcome the situation. if even for a short time still choose to continue making movies,” Hashimoto said.
TIFF Lounge events during the fest, which will also welcome foreign guests, will include sessions with directors Tsai Ming-liang, Koji Fukada and Milcho Manchevski. Meanwhile Genki Kawamura – producer of anime megahit your name whose directorial debut Hundred Flowers is currently in theaters — will appear in two special talk sessions.
TIFF will run from October 24 to November 2 and the TIFFCOM content market will take place online from October 25 to 27.