More people, mixed reaction at Tokyo mart

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TOKYO -- The 20th annual Tokyo International Film Festival's film market got off to a promising start Monday, with larger crowds and a greater number of registered attendees.

The 172 companies on hand represent an increase from last year's 163, organizers said, with 155 stands showcasing production companies, broadcasters, film commissions and local governments. About 3,066 people registered in advance for the market, up from 2,923 a year ago.

Bryan Jung, head of overseas business development at Seoul-based MBC Plus, was impressed by the first day of the event as several buyers had expressed interest in the company's "BSG Police."

Described as a 19th century drama along the lines of "CSI," the series already has been sold in Italy, and Jung believes it will appeal to an audience in Japan, which has shown an appetite for South Korean television and films.

"It can sometimes be difficult dealing with foreign companies, but we hope to establish an open relationship to sell content. If we can do that, then this will have been a success," Jung said.

Not everyone present was as upbeat about the turnout for the event. Maxim Maximovitch, executive vp of Russia's Rospo Film Group, said he was attending for the first time but was disappointed to find it "really quiet."

"We were to Pusan last year and thought we would try Tokyo this time, but it's hard when this comes immediately before the American Film Market," he said. "We won't be coming back next year."

TIFFCOM is organized by Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry and the Japan Institute of Development and Promotion of Pictures and promotes live-action films, TV programs, animated content, publications, video games, comics and merchandising. It runs through Wednesday.
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