Deals scattered as TIFFCOM ends

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TOKYO -- TIFFCOM and the Tokyo Project Gathering wrapped Wednesday as the business side of the Tokyo International Film Festival came to an end at the high-rise venues of the Roppongi Hills complex.

While the difficulty of closing deals in the increasingly congested festival calendar has been a recurrent theme among exhibitors, some pens have managed to reach paper.

Indian buyers have been particularly active according to many Japanese distributors. Klockworx said it had four companies from India bidding for its martial arts film "Black Belt."

"We had interest from four Indian companies for 'Black Belt,' but after some negotiations, a new outfit, Karimbil, put in the best offer and signed up a theatrical and DVD deal just now," Miku Kikuchi of Klockworx said.

The two leads in the movie are fifth- and sixth-degree black belts, and it is being sold as the first authentic Japanese karate film. Kikuchi said they have already had a lot of interest from martial artists trying to buy the movie directly on DVD.

Meanwhile, the Tokyo Project Gathering closed with "Just as Chao Phraya River Flows." The film took the prize for the new projects market and receiving ¥6 million ($52,600) in postproduction funds from Sony. The Japan-Thailand co-production tells the story of a Japanese man who becomes senile and forgets who his Thai wife is after a lifetime together.

Makito Sugiyama, deputy vp foreign program sales at Tokyo Broadcasting System, reported that, though festival scheduling made getting deals done a challenge, his team had a productive few days.

"With Pusan and AFM concentrating on films, all the deals we've signed have been for television dramas and documentaries," Sugiyama said.
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