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Tokyo Festival Reveals Major Asian Push

TOKYO – Yasushi Shiina, new head of the Tokyo International Film Festival, has unveiled a seven-year initiative to promote Asian films and nurture Asian film professionals.

Festival officials announced the outreach initiative Tuesday as part of plans for the 27th edition of the festival which will unspool Oct. 23-31 at Roppongi Hills and other locations in the Japanese capital. It will work closely with the Japan Foundation and the film promotion organization UniJapan.

One initiative, Crosscut Asia is a showcase focusing on films from Asian countries, directors and actors. The inaugural section will highlight Thai films, with titles to be announced on Sept. 30, along with the rest of the festival line-up.
Another is Asian Three-Fold Mirror, a project to coproduce an omnibus film with one new director from Japan and two from the rest of Asia. The film will premiere at a future Tokyo festival.
Yet another is ‘The Spirit of Asia Award,’ a new prize to be presented to a picture from the festival’s Asian Future section dedicated to up-and-coming Asian directors.
As part of the event’s drive to become more attractive to young audiences, TIFF will collaborate with such youth-targeted events as the World Cosplay Summit, the 4th Japan Student Film Festival and the Kinder Film Festival, all to be held concurrently with TIFF.  
Furthermore, in cooperation with the recently rebuilt Kabukiza theater in downtown Tokyo, the festival will present a special screening of 1931 silent “City Lights,” by Charlie Chaplin a fervent Kabuki fan.
There will be few changes in the festival’s main sections, including the competition, special screenings (movies scheduled for fall and winter theatrical releases), Asian Future (films by new Asian directors), Japanese Cinema Splash (Japanese indie titles) and World Focus (foreign festival favorites yet to be released in Japan). One new addition is the Wowow Viewer’s Choice Award, a prize awarded by selected Wowow pay-TV subscribers.

Among previously announced fest projects is a retrospective presenting 50 works from veteran animator Hideaki Anno, who is best known abroad for his “Evangelion” TV and theatrical series.
As earlier announced, the opening film will be the Disney animation “Big Hero 6,” while the closing film will be Takashi Yamazaki’s SF actioner “Parasyte.”

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