The film festival Wednesday announced that it will be held from Monday, Oct 28 to Tues, Nov. 5. Previously, the TIFFCOM market said that it will be held October 22-24, 2019 at the Ikkebukuro venue that it has occupied for the past two editions. That creates a gap of three full days between the two events.
Officials at the festival explained the 2019 separation on the important events set to take place in Tokyo relating to the installation of Japan’s new Emperor. Oct. 22 is the date announced for the enthronement ceremony of Naruhito, following the anticipated abdication of Emperor Akihito in April. Oct. 22 is also expected to be an extra public holiday, and be the date of a parade in which the new Emperor meets his subjects.
“We have made a policy of trying to attract more people to the film festival, and took the view that we should move the dates of the festival. On the other hand, the market is a business event and will be keeping to its announced dates,” a spokesman for the festival told Variety. The spokesman also pointed out that the imperial events will put a strain on Tokyo’s finite hotel accommodation.
“We hope to bring the dates back together in the future. This year we also aim to have some bridging events which link the market and the festival, even if they are separate this time,” the spokesman said.
The festival says that it is succeeding in attracting greater public participation and interest. Attendances rose by 18% in 2018, compared with 2017, to 237,000.
“While continuing our existing programs, as part of new initiatives, the 31st TIFF hosted a new highlight event, the gala screening, in the middle of the festival period for the first time, making it more festive. We also established a new award for best director in the Japanese cinema splash section, to encourage new talent. In addition, we implemented exciting ‘TIFF Plus’ events in collaboration with other industries, as well as added the Hibiya Step Square as a new venue. This allowed us to reach expanded audiences,” said Takeo Hisamatsu, TIFF festival director, in a prepared statement.