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Tiffcom diversity fights downturn

Confab showcases blend of content, quality

In spite of the weak economy, Tiffcom organizers feel the blend of content and quality offered by the Oct. 20-22 marketplace that coincides with the Tokyo Intl. Film Festival points to success.

“Tiffcom is an all-in-one business market,” says Mika Morishita, director of the event that features film, animation, Web, publishing and broadcasting content. “With our variety and the convenience of being in the same building as TIFF, we can provide a very unique destination within the Asian market.”

Notables for 2009 include first-time exhibitors from Poland (Polish Film Institute) and Myanmar (Ye Movie Prod.) and a substantial increase to last year’s total of 11 exhibitors from China.

One year ago, 727 buyers and 201 exhibitors, roughly split between Japan and abroad, brokered deals on the 40th floor of Tokyo’s Roppongi Hills complex. Compared with 2007, visitor attendance was up 14% (reaching 4,006) and the value of contracts rose from $15.2 million to $19.1 million.

Among the 40 screened pics were studio Shochiku’s foreign-language Academy Award winner “Departures” and producer-distributor Asmik Ace’s “The Handsome Suit,” which was sold for markets in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Malaysia, Singapore, Macau and Brunei.

This year’s downturn will prevent the number of foreign exhibitors from exceeding domestic, Morishita says, but increased scrutiny placed upon buyers will be a huge asset.

“After last year, we asked TV companies and film distribution companies in Japan who their VIP buyers were and with whom did they engage in meetings,” Morishita explains. “That is important. So the quality of the buyers this year will be totally different.”

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