Four films to world premiere in competition

TOKYO — The 21st Tokyo Film Festival unveiled its lineup Thursday, including four world preems in the competition section: Ivy Ho’s helming debut “Claustrophobia,” Feng Xiaoning’s disaster pic “Super Typhoon,” thesp Atsuro Watabe’s helming debut “Echo of Silence” and Tetsu Maeda’s school drama “School Days With a Pig.”

Jennifer Phang’s “Half-Life,” which gets its international preem, is the only competition pic with a U.S. production credit.

Jon Voight leads the competition jury, which includes Chinese helmer Jianqi Huo, veteran producer Michael Gruskoff, Brazilian d.p. Cesar Charlone, Japanese thesp Fumi Dan and Japanese scripter Koji Takada.

The Special Screenings section includes the previously announced fest opener, John Woo’s “Red Cliff,” and closer, Andrew Stanton’s “Wall-E,” as well as Cannes opener “Blindness,” Korean B.O. smash “D-War” and Madonna’s helming debut, “Filth and Wisdom.”    

At the press conference announcing the lineup of the fest,  which runs Oct. 18-26, tyro chairman Tom Yoda emphasized the fest’s ecological slant, with a Green Carpet replacing the traditional red and a Natural section screening docus and pics with green themes. Also, a new Toyota Earth Grand Prix will be awarded to the best eco-related pic in the main program.

Among other main fest sections are Winds of Asia — Middle East, with 20 pics from 14 countries; and Japanese Eyes, with 10 local pics skedded to unspool. Both sections award prizes selected by juries.

Non-competitive sections include Animecs, which will feature a retro devoted to the “father of anime” Osamu Tezuka; Cinema Vibration, which will unspool three music-themed pics; and Nippon Cinema Classics, which will offer seven masterworks from the 1950s and 1960s.

 Another addition is World Cinema, featuring 10 pics that have won kudos at other fests but are unlikely to get a theatrical release in Japan.

Pics include Mike Leigh’s “Happy-Go-Lucky,” whose lead Sally Hawkins scooped the actress prize at Berlin this year; Steve McQueen’s “Hunger,” winner of the Cannes Camera d’Or; Matteo Garonne’s “Gomorrah,” which walked off with the Cannes Grand Prix; and Enrique Rivero’s “Parque via,” winner of the Golden Leopard at Locarno.

 The Tiffcom market, Oct. 22-24, is celebrating its fifth year with 15% more TV outlets, including all five Japanese networks and pubcaster NHK, as well as a beefed-up second edition of its Intl. Drama Festival in Tokyo, which showcases Japanese TV dramas to foreign buyers.

Tiffcom has aggressively courted exhibs from Europe and North America, bringing the domestic/foreign seller ratio to 50:50.

Some 172 companies have signed up for booths, while advance visitor registrations now total 3,505.

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