Tokyo Film Festival to Go Ahead With Physical Event

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Despite the Japanese government reimplementing coronavirus restrictions in the country, the 33rd edition of TIFF will take place Oct. 31 through Nov. 9.

The Tokyo International Film Festival (TIFF) will go ahead with a physical event this year, with the 33rd edition taking place on Oct. 31 through Nov. 9. 

Japan's biggest film festival will be one of the few major international events to hold in-person screenings and symposiums in 2020, after the novel coronavirus pandemic decimated the festival calendar leading to postponements, cancellations and online-only editions. 

The announcement of a physical edition of TIFF comes despite the Japanese government reimplementing restrictions as COVID-19 cases in the country increased at a rapid rate, hitting a record 1,998 daily cases on Aug. 3. Japan has experienced a total of 42,663 COVID-19 cases with 1,028 deaths. 

Mindful of the safety and security of festival attendees and the changeable virus situation in Japan, organizers say the festival will only go ahead if conditions allow it and they retain the option to either postpone or cancel the event. 

Given the unique circumstances, TIFF is introducing Tokyo Premiere 2020 which will combine their international competition, Asian Future and Japanese Cinema Splash sections into one lineup. Eschewing traditional awards, TIFF will give one Audience Award for all the films nominated in the Tokyo Premiere 2020 section. TIFF has also established a new selection committee for the 2020 edition made up of Kohei Ando (emeritus professor at Waseda University), Shozo Ichiyama (producer), Kenji Ishizaka (TIFF senior programmer), Yuka Kimbara (journalist), Yuko Sekiguchi (journalist) and Yoshi Yatabe (TIFF senior programmer). 

Additionally, TIFF says it will deepen its ties with Tokyo FILMeX, the film festival organized by Office Kitano which focuses on independent films from Asia which also takes place in late autumn. TIFF says the tie up with Tokyo FILMeX will look to build a similar relationship between the Cannes Film Festival and the Director's Fortnight.