Kamiya Naoki has been named as new director of programming at Tokyo Filmex, a Tokyo-based festival with a strong focus on Japanese and Asian independent cinema. This year’s Filmex will run Oct. 31-Nov. 7, 2021.

Founded in 2000, the festival was long under the leadership of co-directors Hayashi Kanako and Ichiyama Shozo and supported by Office Kitano, the talent agency and production company of director-actor Kitano Takeshi. Kamiya served under Hayashi and Ichiyama as a film programmer and guest liaison.

He has also been active as a film-related translator and author. He left the festival briefly in 2019, but has returned to take up his new appointment.

After Office Kitano withdrew its backing and Hayashi resigned in 2018 the future of Tokyo Filmex seemed in question. But Ichiyama brought the festival under the corporate umbrella of Kino International, a member of the Kinoshita Group, a conglomerate whose core businesses are construction and real estate.

Last year, in response to the pandemic, Tokyo Filmex partnered with the Tokyo International Film Festival. Filmex changed its dates from late November to coincide with those of the larger festival while maintaining its operational independence.

In March of this year Ichiyama, left Tokyo Filmex to become programming director of the TIFF. In accepting appointment, he said that “TIFF is about to undergo a major transformation,” though Filmex’s latest edition will once again be held concurrently with TIFF.

In a statement Kamiya said that, despite the changes brought about by the pandemic, “film festivals play certain roles.” The most important of those roles, he argued “is maintaining quality, diversity and becoming a place of socialization for the film industry and those who love cinema.”