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Kinoshita to Rescue Tokyo FILMeX Festival

Japanese property to entertainment group, Kinoshita has come to the rescue of the annual Tokyo FILMeX film festival. The festival recently lost its principal supporter following the restructuring of Office Kitano.

Kinoshita, which owns nursing homes and retail properties, and has entertainment businesses including distributor Kino Films and the Dongyu Club talent agency, is expected to take on both a financial and management role. The next edition of the festival will now go ahead, as normal, Nov. 17-24, this year.

Office Kitano is the production company and talent management firm controlled by director Takeshi Kitano, who also appears under the name Beat Takeshi when performing as an actor or comedian. In March this year Kitano announced that he would quit Office Kitano, which he founded in 1992. As the company earned much of its revenues from representing Kitano, his withdrawal has led to job losses at Office Kitano and the scaling back of the company’s production and film support activities.

While details have yet to be finalized, Tokyo FILMeX expects to receive some $400,000 of local and national government support, and to earn some $200,000 of sponsorship revenue. That could leave a hole of another $200,000 for Kinoshita to fill.

The move was announced Wednesday in Cannes, by Yumiko Takebe, president of Kino Films, and by Shozo Ichiyama, on behalf of Kinoshita group chairman Naoya Kinoshita.

A producer of several of Jia Zhangke’s movies, including “Ash is the Purest White,” which appears in competition this week at the Cannes Film Festival, Ichiyama has previously held roles at both Office Kitano and at Filmex. He now becomes director of the visual content division at Kinoshita Group.
Kino Films handles some 30 theatrical releases per year. The substantial majority of them are foreign import titles.

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