TikTok, Japanese Studio Toho Partner on Shortform Video Competition

Takashi Miike - Getty - H 2019
Tim P. Whitby/Tim P. Whitby/Getty Images for BFI

Veteran Japanese director Takashi Miike has joined the TikTok Toho Film Festival as a judge.

In a somewhat improbable pairing, Chinese-owned video app TikTok has partnered with Japanese film studio Toho, the home of Godzilla and Kurosawa, to launch an online shortform video competition.

The partners are calling the event the "TikTok Toho Film Festival 2021," although it appears much more like a marketing exercise designed to win TikTok Japanese users than anything like a traditional film festival.

The event will begin accepting submissions from amateur creators around the globe on April 12. Entries can be anywhere from 15 seconds to 10 minutes long, and they should be uploaded to TikTok. Submissions close May 31. Toho and TikTok appear to be primarily promoting the event within Japan.

The partners say the event was designed to" discover and nurture new creative talent." The 23-year-old Japanese pop star and actor Takumi Kitamura has joined the event as an official ambassador, while veteran Japanese filmmaker Miike Takashi, a Cannes regular, will participate as a judge. Joining Miike on the event's jury are director Yamada Tomokazu and the popular TikTok creator Shinnosuke.

A total of 10 finalists will be selected, with the winners to be selected by the jury and announced at an awards ceremony live-streamed over TikTok this summer. An additional audience award will go to the video creator with the most views and likes on TikTok.

Toho will give the grand prize winner 4.5 million Japanese yen (about $36,500) worth of "production support" for their next "film," while TikTok will dole out a cash prize of 300,000 yen ($2,740). The audience award winner will receive 200,000 yen ($1,740).

The grand prize winner will then be invited to shoot and edit a new five-minute video for release over TikTok in late summer.

Perhaps loosely referencing his violent yakuza filmography, Miike said in a statement: "This has got to be the ultimate battlefield for the next generation of creators. They’ve got no option but to participate. Let’s have some fun and find a new tomorrow!"