Tokyo Fest to Host Zoom Talks with Hirokazu Kore-eda, Jia Zhangke, Other Top Asian Auteurs

Hirokazu Kore'eda, Jia Zhang-ke and Apichatpong Weerasethakul
Ernesto S. Ruscio/Getty Images for RFF; Matthias Nareyek/Getty Images; Tim P. Whitby/Getty Images for Doha Film Institute

Hirokazu Kore'eda, Jia Zhang-ke and Apichatpong Weerasethakul

Additional directors scheduled to take part in the eight-day conversation series include Thai Palme d'Or winner Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Japan's Kiyoshi Kurosawa, rising Korean talent Kim Bora and Taiwan's Tsai Ming-liang, among others.

The upcoming Tokyo International Film Festival, kicking off Oct. 31, will host a new panel discussion series featuring some of Asia's most accomplished arthouse filmmakers.

Dubbed the "Asia Lounge," the program was proposed and co-organized by Palme d'Or winning Japanese auteur Hirokazu Kore-eda (Shoplifters). The series will pair selected directors for an hour and half-long conversation about their craft, industry trends and the impact of COVID-19 on the film business.

Some of the directors confirmed to take part are Chinese auteur Jia Zhangke (A Touch of Sin), Thai Palme d'Or winner Apichatpong Weerasethakul (Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives), Japan's Kiyoshi Kurosawa (recent winner of the Venice Silver Lion for Wife of a Spy), rising Korean director Kim Bora (House of Hummingbird) and Taiwan's Tsai Ming-liang (Stray Dog), among many others.

The event was originally envisioned by Kore-eda as a physical lounge were invited filmmakers could hangout and talk cinema throughout the festival, with their conversations recorded for a wider audience. In light of pandemic, however, the program has shifted online. The participating filmmakers will connect over Zoom and anyone will be able to tune in for free, provided they pre-register. One panel will be held each day from Nov. 1-8. The discussions will be translated into both English and Japanese.

This year's Tokyo film festival will be held in a hybrid online-offline form, with a somewhat scaled back lineup of screenings and events. Three of the festival's usual programming strands – the main competition, Asian Future and Japanese Cinema Splash – have been combined into one section, Tokyo Premiere 2020, which will show 32 films. Instead of the usual roster of jury awards, the festival will bestow only one prize, the Audience Award.

The festival will open with Masaharu Take's boxing drama Underdog, and close with the premiere of Hajime Hashimoto's Hokusai, a biopic of the great Japanese ukiyo-e painter and printmaker. The festival also will screen five films from Japanese director Fukada Koji, who is this year's filmmaker in focus.