Tokyo Film Festival, Market to Open With Animation Focus
The event looks to develop a clear identity on the crowded festival circuit as more than 1,100 buyers are expected at the market
The TIFFCOM market of the Tokyo International Film Festival (TIFF) opens Tuesday and runs until Thursday, the day the 27th edition of the main festival kicks off with the world premiere of Disney's Big Hero 6.
The market is expecting 320 exhibitors and 1,100 buyers, up slightly from last year, plus seminars and talks on fund raising, co-productions, location incentives and how to predict a hit movie using big data.
TIFFCOM will be in its third year of its guise as the so-called Japan Content Showcase, incorporating the Tokyo International Music Market and Tokyo International Anime Festival at its Odaiba venue on reclaimed bay-side land. However, this is the first year the market begins before the main festival.
Animation will be a major theme this year, including the opening film, a 50-title Hideaki Anno (Evangelion) showcase and productions from Mamoru Oshii (Ghost in the Shell) as Tokyo seeks to craft a clear identity for itself on the crowded festival circuit.
"Anime is a unique type of content that Japan can take pride in," festival director Yasushi Shiina told The Hollywood Reporter, adding that he had high hopes that this year's content offerings would appeal to a wide range of film fans from around the world.
In his second year at the helm, Shiina said he is trying to get both the Japanese film industry and general public more engaged with the festival.
"In addition to being a strategic event through which the "Japan brand" can be promoted, the festival is also an important way of promoting cultural exchange between people from around the world. I think the understanding of that and the response to it has strengthened," said Shiina in response to a question about what he feels he has achieved so far.
A 10-meter tall, robot from The Next Generation – Patlabor – episode 10, a new live-action feature and seven-chapter series in the Mobile Police Patlabor anime story, will be put up in its 22-ton splendor at the Roppongi Hills festival site during the festival. Oshii served as general director for the new segment in the story, part of which will be shown in market screenings during TIFFCOM.
A live-action Dreamworks remake of Oshii's groundbreaking 1995 anime Ghost in the Shell is reportedly also moving ahead, with Scarlett Johansson tipped to star.
The festival will come to a close on Oct. 31 with the announcement of the competition winners, including the $50,000 Sakura Grand Prix, judged by a jury headed by director James Gunn.