Arts & Entertainment

Tokyo Film Festival welcomes foreign partners after pandemic hiatus

Tokyo, Oct 26 (EFE).- The Tokyo International Film Festival is aiming to “return to normality” in this year’s edition with an international presence after the pandemic reduced foreign representation for two years.

“The fundamental pillars of a film festival are: showing good films and promoting the exchange of people,” TIFF director Hiroyasu Ando tells Efe in an interview

The festival’s 35th edition, which will last until November 2, began with over 130 stars parading down the red carpet in the Tokyo neighborhood of Hibiya, including international directors and actors who were able to join the event for the first time since the pandemic.

There will be 169 films screened and of those 15 are in competition. The competing films include two Spanish ones, one Chilean movie, three Japanese films, one Tunisian, one Italian, one Vietnamese, one Macedonian, one Kazakh, one Sri Lankan, one Israeli, one Kyrgyz and one Iranian film.

The jury also has an international presence with jury president American director Julie Taymor — known for Frida (2002) and Across the Universe (2007) feature films — and Portuguese director João Pedro Rodriguez.

“For the first time in two years we were able to invite participants from other countries, but it is still not enough. This year marks the beginning of a new leap for TIFF,” says Ando, ​​who also says ticket sales could increase by 50% compared to previous years due to an increase in the number of venues by almost 20%.

The director of the festival considers festivals are still of great importance to the sector despite the power of streaming platforms like Netflix and HBO, which means films often reach viewers via their laptops first.

“On a personal level, the pleasure of watching a movie is in theaters, with a good sound system and by sharing the experience with other people,” says Ando.

The festival seeks to attract a young audience that is interested in auteur cinema and this year has more than a hundred volunteers from universities and educational centers with organizers hoping “the future Akira Kurosawa or Yasujiro Ozu emerges.”

When asked about other international film festivals Ando avoids making comparisons but says that “cooperation between festivals is important.”

“Festivals like Cannes, Venice or Berlin have a long history, while Tokyo was born 35 years ago. Of course, Tokyo has its advantages and disadvantages, but all festivals must work together for a common goal” the TIFF director concludes.EFE


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