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Japanese formatters throw world pitch

Event helps producers aim shows at international buyers

TOKYO — With the local TV market suffering a bit from stagnation, a Japanese TV industry org is working to enable producers to take their formats and nonfiction shows on the road.

The Assn. of All Japan TV Program Companies is hosting the Tokyo TV Forum, it’s first international pitching event, today through Wednesday in Tokyo. A total of 20 commissioning editors and other pros from around the world will hear pitches on 21 docu projects from Japan during the three-day event. Top projects will gain entry to the Asian Side of the Doc pitch event in March.

The 21 pitches were selected from nearly 60 submitted by production houses nationwide. Among the panelists being pitched are reps from BBC, PBS Distribution, CCTV, KBS, TFI, NDR/ARD, Arte France and Discovery Networks Asia Pacific.

The forum also will feature panel sessions and workshops designed to give Japanese producers deeper insights into international TV markets. Among the presenters are Yutaka Shigenobu, CEO of major Japanese production house TV Man Union; Minoru Toizumi, prexy of Hokkaido Television Broadcasting; Hiroshi Takahashi, prexy of Toei Animation; and Akihiro Arai, a senior director at Fuji Television Network, one of Japan’s five commercial networks.

Japanese broadcasters have long sold their formats and shows abroad, with TBS’ popular obstacle course show “Sasuke” airing on G4 as “American Ninja Warrior” (with the show’s finale airing on sister network NBC). Forum director Yukihiko Amagi sees the event as a chance to better connect Japanese producers with international players.

“The TTVF is a great chance for international markets to see the best of what Japanese documentary makers have to offer,” Amagi said. “And it’s a great opportunity for Japanese documentary producers to get up to speed on international co-production, have their proposals reviewed by international experts, and learn the steps to signing a co-production deal.”

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