James Gunn to Head Jury at Tokyo Film Fest

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James Gunn will be president of the Jury in Tokyo next month

The festival, which will feature 30 world premieres, will also honor Tim Burton and Takeshi Kitano with the new Samurai Award

The full line-up for Tokyo International Film Festival (TIFF) will include 30 world premieres, including five in the main 15-title competition section judged by a jury headed by James Gunn (Guardians of the Galaxy), organizers announced Tuesday.

Films from France, Belgium, Japan, China, Russia and the U.S. will be among those competing for the $50,000 Sakura Grand Prix and other awards, with Gunn joined on the jury by four more directors, Korea's John H. Lee (A Moment to Remember), Australia's Robert Luketic (Legally Blonde), Singapore's Eric Khoo (Tatsumi) and Japan's Hiroshi Shinagawa, alongside U.K. casting director Debbie McWilliams.

Films for the competition were selected from 1,373 submissions from 92 countries.

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"Film is a window on the world today, through which we can see its true shape. It is the medium that shows us with the greatest immediacy the vast variety of people on the earth, and how they are all just as human as we are," said Yoshi Yatabe, festival programming director. "The works in the competition section of the Tokyo International Film Festival were selected with the goal of showing our world in a microcosm."

Tim Burton and Takeshi Kitano will be the first recipients of the Samurai Award, a new initiative to celebrate filmmakers who "create groundbreaking films that carve out a path to a new era."

This year's event will see a big focus on anime, including the world premiere of Garm Wars — The Last Druid by anime auteur Mamoru Ishii, a showcase of Hideaki Anno, director of cult favorite Evangelion, as well as the first showing of Pikmin short films from Nintendo game creator Shigeru Miyamoto, the man behind the Mario Bros. franchise.

U.S. animation will be represented by Walt Disney in the form of the world premiere of festival opener Big Hero 6, as well as a talk from Disney's John Lasseter on the theme of Japanese culture and anime.

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Special screenings will include a 4K digitally restored Rebel Without a Cause, Chariots of Fire and a showing of Charlie Chaplin's City Lights at the Kabuki-za theater in Ginza.

TIFF is also promising more events beyond film, with the outdoor Roppongi Hills Arena at the main festival venue used for live music, talk shows and appearances by stars, while food trucks around the stage will present Tokyo Cinema Cuisine from top chefs including Nobuyuki Matsuhisa of Nobu fame.

Parasyte, from local favorite Takashi Yamazaki, will make its world premiere as the festival's closing night film.

The 27th edition of the festival will run Oct. 23-31 at Roppongi Hills and other central Tokyo venues.

Twitter: @GavinJBlair

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