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Tokyo Festival to Open With ‘Captain Phillips’

New management promises renewal, unveils three new sections

TOKYO — The Tokyo International Film Festival’s new organizers today promised a sense of renewal as they unveiled the Tom Hanks-starrer “Captain Phillips” as the opening film.

The fact-based drama is directed by the UK’s Paul Greengrass and tells two sides of a story about the 2009 hijacking of a container ship by Somali pirates. “Phillips” is also set as the opening film of September’s New York Film Festival. It will open in theaters on Nov 29 through Sony Japan.

The festival (17-25 Oct, 2013) will close with “The Kiyosu Conference,” a Japanese dramedy directed by veteran Koki Mitani which Toho will open locally on Nov 9.

Tokyo’s new director general Yasushi Shiina said that a shake-up of the festival’s sections amounts to a renewal of the event that is now in its 26th edition.

One such change is the introduction of the ‘Japanese Cinema Splash’ section, which will present Japanese indie films with international appeal. It succeeds the Japanese Eyes section, which had a similar focus.

Another addition is the ‘World Focus’ section that showcases prize-winning films from other fests, but which have not yet found a distributor in Japan.

A third new section is ‘Asian Future,’ which aims to uncover new directing talent from Asia, defined as including Japan and the Middle East. It succeeds the Winds of Asia section that previously presented Asian indie pictures.

Continuing as before will be the showcase competition section, which will screen 15 pics competing for the Tokyo Sakura Grand Prix.

Also returning is the Special Screenings section, previewing commercial movies that will open in Japan towards the end of the year and in early 2014.

The TIFFCOM content market will also be held October 22-24 in conjunction with the Tokyo fest at the Hotel Grand Pacific Le Daiba in Tokyo Bay, the same venue as last year. In 2012 TIFFCOM hosted 229 booths while registering 983 buyers.

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