Fest Traveler: Tokyo Intl. Film Festival - Tiffcom

Why is the Tiffcom market, the offshoot of the Tokyo Intl. Film Festival, moving its ninth edition to a new home at the Hotel Grand Pacific Le Daiba in the Odaiba district on Tokyo Bay — about a $40 cab ride from the main fest venue in downtown Tokyo?

Odaiba, says Tiffcom director Mika Morishita, offers advantages that more than compensate for its distance.

“Buyers and exhibitors who stay at the hotel only have to take a 30-second elevator ride to get from their room to the market, so they have no commuting stress,” she says. “It’s also a convenient 20 minutes from Haneda Airport.”

Free shuttles between Tiffcom and the fest will be available, with the ride taking less than half an hour depending, of course, on Tokyo traffic.

Yet another plus for buyers is the market’s bigger scale and wider scope compared with last year’s edition.

In addition to 35 more exhibitors than the 226 in 2011, including 16 from Japan and 19 from elsewhere, Tiffcom will be held for the first time in conjunction with three other contents marts: Tokyo Intl. Music Market, Tokyo Intl. Anime Fair and Creative Market Tokyo.

Not quite one-stop shopping for all content needs, but certainly an added incentive to choose Tiffcom over its rivals. Morishita, however, says that Tiffcom does not consider itself in competition with the Asian Film Market held at South Korea’s Busan Film Festival, which unspools right before Tiffcom opens.

“I would like us to develop together as Asian business markets,” she says, while adding that Tiffcom, with its brisk dealmaking in toons and TV shows, “is different from the Busan market, which is more oriented towards films.”

One glaring absence will be the Chinese pavilion, which has been canceled following nationwide demonstrations protesting Japanese claims to the uninhabited Senkaku (or in China, Diaoyu) islands that China also calls its own. Chinese companies, however, are still expected to attend.

“There will a few participating as sellers,” Morishita said. “The number of buyers has not changed.”

Tiffcom hopes that the new look this year will lead to not only more sales, but what Morishita describes as “the start of a new business model” for the Japanese contents biz, with more marketing integration of pics, music, toons, digital contents and multichannel TV.

Also, in addition to hosting a project market where creators from Japan and elsewhere will pitch 19 projects to prospective producers, Tiffcom plans to launch itself as a venue for TV format sales, beginning with a seminar titled “The Frontline of TV Format Sales — From Reality Show to Japanese Game Show.”

“We are hoping that Tiffcom can be the place where new program format deals are concluded,” Morishita says.

Tiffcom’s larger goal, she says, is to “effectively communicate to the world that Japan is a special business category” — that is, a country and culture whose entertainment contents are truly unique. Tiffcom wants to be their best possible showcase.

“Japanese film and TV companies are starting to do business more with the overseas market in mind,” she adds.

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