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Tokyo Film Festival Plans for Physical Edition, Alliance With Filmex  

Tokyo Film Festival poster
Courtesy of Tokyo Int'l Film Festival

The Tokyo International Film Festival  (TIFF) will host physical screenings at its 33rd edition, which is on  schedule to be held Oct. 31-Nov. 9, the festival office announced Thursday. It will also collaborate with the Tokyo Filmex festival, normally held later in November.

Plans for a festival with live audiences may change, a TIFF representative said, “depending on the global health situation.” The festival plans for screenings in Tokyo theaters, but will hold symposiums and talk events with international guests online.

“As of now, we think it is extremely difficult to invite guests from Europe and U.S. territories,” said the rep. “As for neighboring countries in Asia, there are still possibilities depending on the virus situation.”

Another indication of the new normal is TIFF’s decision to combine its three core sections – Competition, Asian Future (films from up-and-coming Asian directors) and Japanese Cinema Splash (local indie films by new and veteran directors) — into one new section called Tokyo Premiere 2020. The section will screen about 30 films from new and established directors, while bestowing only one prize, an audience award.

On the programming committee for Tokyo Premiere 2020 are TIFF programmers Kohei Ando, Kenji Ishizaka and Yoshi Yatabe, as well as producer Shozo Ichiyama and journalists Yuka Kimbara and Yuko Sekiguchi.

Tokyo Filmex, a festival that traditionally specializes in Asian and other foreign arthouse films premiering at major fall festivals, is bringing forward its edition by two weeks, has cut its duration, and is scaling down. It will now run Oct. 30 to Nov. 5. with just a competition section and a series of out-of-competition special screenings.

The two festivals likened their new relationship to that between the Cannes Film Festival and Directors’ Fortnight. “We expect a synergistic effect in making information under the Tokyo International Film Festival’s idea of idea of ‘Mutual Strengthening of the Film Industry’,” Filmex said in a statement.

TIFF’s three-day TIFFCOM film and TV rights market, which has usually been held concurrently with the Tokyo festival, is scheduled to go ahead in physical form, but seminars will be held online. “Again, there may be changes depending on the global health situation,” representatives said.