Tokyo fest market draws 3,500 from 40 nations

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TOKYO -- The market attached to the 20th Tokyo International Film Festival attracted more visitors and exhibitors than organizers had anticipated, but they intend to shift the focus of the event next year.

The Oct. 22 three-day event pulled in 3,503 people from 40 nations, a 19.9% increase on last year. The 957 visitors from overseas was a 24% leap on the previous event, with substantially more industry figures traveling to Tokyo from Hong Kong, South Korea and Brazil.

The 172 companies represented was an increase on the 163 that were present 12 months earlier, with 155 stands showcasing production companies, broadcasters, film commissions and local government trying to attract film projects.

"This year, we put a great deal of effort onto going to other markets before TIFFCOM -- we were at Cannes, Pusan, Hong Kong and Berlin -- we attended lots of functions and met lots of representatives of the film industry and asked them to come to Tokyo, and that has clearly paid off," said Mika Morishita, assistant director of international sales for the event.

Several companies are still in negotiations over distribution deals for individual titles, she said, though the opening film from the festival itself, "Midnight Eagle," was sold to Hong Kong and Singapore during TIFFCOM.

And while organizers are pleased at this year's statistics, they are planning to appeal to a different audience next year. "Up until now, our target has mainly been Asian countries, but from next year we want to focus more on the United States and European markets," Morishita said. "It will be difficult because of the timing of TIFFCOM -- we are on at the same time as the Rome Film Festival, shortly before the American Film Market and just after Pusan, but we will try very hard next year."
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