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The High quality of Japanese Movies Is Enhancing, Says Ichiyama Shozo, Tokyo Pageant Program Director

The daring assertion laid out by the organizers of the Tokyo Worldwide Movie Pageant is that this 12 months’s totally in-person version will not be solely larger than earlier than, it’s additionally higher.

That applies at a company stage because the pageant provides extra screens and international individuals after the COVID hiatus. It applies at a movie high quality stage too, programming director Ichiyama Shozo, tells Selection.

Please summarize the primary traces of your choice this 12 months.

This 12 months, we had extra movies submitted than final 12 months, and I used to be assured that we may obtain a stronger competitors lineup, that included seven world premiers and one worldwide premier. One glad shock is “Superb Ashes” by Bui Thac Chuyen, which is the primary Vietnamese movie in our principal competitors within the historical past of Tokyo Worldwide Movie Pageant.

Now we have three Japanese movies in our principal competitors, in contrast with two final 12 months. The standard of Japanese movies that are submitted is far increased than final 12 months.

What was the considering behind the selection of “Fragments of the Final Will” as this 12 months’s opening movie?

The principle motive I chosen “Fragments of the Final Will” is as a result of it’s directed by Zeze Takahisa, who I believe is one in every of Japan’s most vital filmmakers. Zeze began his profession as an unbiased filmmaker, then began to work with huge studios. However he continues to direct unbiased movies exterior the studios, corresponding to hos masterpiece “Heaven’s Story,” which received the FIPRESCI Prize in Berlin in 2011. “Fragments of the Final Will” is a business movie, produced by an enormous TV station, however it incorporates a powerful anti-war message and showcases Zeze’s cinematic model.

You will have 10 Asian World premieres in Asian Future. How has the connection between this part and Filmex settled down?

The programmer, Kenji Ishizaka, who’s answerable for Asian Future, prioritizes these movies which haven’t been proven in every other movie festivals. The result’s that every one the movies in Asian Future are world premieres. In the meantime, Tokyo Filmex doesn’t require premiere standing. Its competitors part favors younger filmmakers, together with these whose movies have been proven elsewhere, corresponding to Cannes, Locarno and Venice. The result’s, if you’re in Tokyo in the long run of October, you may watch many of the prime Asian movies by younger filmmakers made this 12 months.

TIFF has managed to program a mainland Chinese language movie in Asian Future. That is more and more uncommon. What’s your understanding of the issue?

I’m upset that I couldn’t discover any Chinese language movie for the primary competitors this 12 months. It’s very unusual that submissions from the mainland China are only a few this 12 months. I don’t know the explanation. Folks in China say that many movies are ready for permission from the federal government to current the movies in worldwide movie festivals, however the [regulatory] committee will not be working correctly. “The Twine of Life”, which was shot in Interior Mongolia, is the one Chinese language movie [we have] this 12 months. It was submitted early and already had screening permission after we despatched the invitation. I hope this unusual scenario will change and we will have extra Chinese language movies subsequent 12 months.

TIFF has a big Japanese movie contingent. What present tendencies, strengths BD weaknesses in Japanese filmmaking do you discern based mostly on what has been provided to the pageant for consideration?

Final 12 months, I had an issue to search out Japanese movies which I wish to introduce on the Tokyo pageant. And we didn’t program any Japanese movie within the Gala Choice in 2021. This 12 months, the scenario modified dramatically, and we obtained many extra good Japanese movies. I’ve been capable of choose 5 Japanese movies in Gala Choice, and three in the primary competitors.

Some studios and manufacturing firms had been reluctant to launch their movies in the course of the pandemic, however this 12 months they’re very energetic in producing and releasing movies. Three Japanese movies in competitors exhibits that there are promising younger unbiased filmmakers who can compete within the main aggressive movie festivals within the close to future. Even in Nippon Cinema Now, the non-competitive sidebar for brand spanking new Japanese movies, I used to be capable of choose a number of robust Japanese movies by new filmmakers, which can have deserved competitors. One instance is “Lightening Over Past,” a black and white epic, directed by Hanno Yoshihiro, who’s better-known as a music composer for Hou Hsiao-hsien and Jia Zhang-ke’s movies. The movie is a completely unbiased, made exterior any studio or TV broadcaster, however the scale is far larger than most Japanese unbiased movies. It’s very encouraging that such a courageous movie is made independently of the Japanese manufacturing system.

Why revive the Kurosawa Award now?

It’s Hiroyasu Ando, the chairman of the pageant, who determined to revive Kurosawa Award. He believes that the pageant ought to have this sort of honorary awards given to the filmmakers who contributed the movie tradition. I additionally assume it’s excellent that the pageant has an award named after a distinguished filmmaker, as a result of it could encourage the recipients. And I do know that the choice committee prefers to provide these awards to these filmmakers who’re nonetheless energetic, quite than those that are within the final stage of their profession.

Cannes is resisting Netflix. Venice is embracing it. How is streaming affecting TIFF’s choice?

The rationale Cannes doesn’t present Netflix movies is just due to the movie regulation in France, which defines a really lengthy holdback interval after a movie can transfer from theatrical launch to streaming. There isn’t a such regulation in Italy or Japan, and we’re not restricted from exhibiting movies that are produced by streaming platforms. For us to pick a movie, a very powerful factor is whether or not it has a cinematic model or not. It’s not necessary if the movie is produced by movie studio or not. We’ll choose movies so long as they haven’t already proven on a streaming platforms earlier than the pageant begins.

Aside from function size movies, I created a brand new part ‘TIFF Collection’ final 12 months, which exhibits collection produced by TV stations or streaming platforms. This has chosen collection which are directed by filmmakers. I believe this part needs to be expanded in future, as a result of many gifted filmmakers at the moment are engaged on such collection.


The High quality of Japanese Movies Is Enhancing, Says Ichiyama Shozo, Tokyo Pageant Program Director



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