Following a technology of organizational drift, the Tokyo Worldwide Movie Competition has charted a course in direction of better international affect underneath the formidable management of present chairman Hiroyasu Ando. A profession diplomat for Japan’s Overseas Service, Ando took the helm of the Tokyo pageant in mid-2019 and rapidly set about remaking the occasion, altering its location, shaking up the programming ranks, recruiting arthouse star Hirokazu Kore-eda to program a seminar sequence and including extra glamor to the after-dark events and filmmaker fetes. Quite a lot of that revitalization went unseen by the worldwide movie neighborhood, nevertheless, due to the lengthy interregnum of the pandemic. In 2023, the Tokyo pageant’s renewed outlook will likely be tougher to overlook.
“Now that the coronavirus catastrophe is absolutely over, we had been capable of make additional progress in shifting ahead and upgrading our pageant,” Ando tells The Hollywood Reporter.
To leverage Japan’s strengths and increase the occasion’s position within the business, Ando has pursued two central methods in 2023: showcase the nation’s wealthy cinematic heritage and place the pageant as a hub for the rising movie industries of the encircling area.
This 12 months is the a hundred and twentieth anniversary of the start of Japanese cinema legend Yasujiro Ozu and to mark the event the Tokyo pageant will display an enormous retrospective dedicated to the director, together with 33 of his options. German director Wim Wenders — arguably Ozu’s biggest champion in Western arthouse cinema, courting again to his 1985 documentary homage to the Japanese movie legend, Tokyo-Ga — is the president of Tokyo’s competitors jury this 12 months. The pageant opened Monday night time with Wenders’ Tokyo-set drama Good Days, which has been chosen by Japan as its official entry to the 96th Academy Awards in the very best worldwide movie class. Good Days‘ star, native display legend Koji Yakusho, received Cannes’ greatest actor award for his efficiency within the movie, boosting its possibilities as a key Oscar contender.
Leveraging his four-decade profession in diplomacy, Ando has made forging ties throughout the Asia-Pacific area a serious precedence for the pageant throughout his tenure.
“Japan has often acted as if it stands outdoors the area, however this can be a pageant that takes place in Asia — so we must always attempt to play an vital position in our neighborhood,” he explains.
An emphasis on celebrating regional cinema is clear all through the pageant’s programming in 2023. The pageant’s important competitors consists of three movies from China — the identical quantity as from Japan — and speak classes are deliberate with main filmmakers from throughout APAC, together with Zhang Yimou (who collected a lifetime achievement award on the pageant), Tony Leung, Tran Anh Hung, Yoji Yamada, Gu Xiaogang, Mouly Surya and Yang Yonghi. The occasion’s Kurosawa Akira Award, which is given to auteurs making their mark in world cinema, will likely be offered collectively to Surya and Gu, main voices from Indonesia and China, respectively. Concurrently, the pageant is looking for to forge ties with the following technology of Asian movie expertise by internet hosting 100 movie college students from across the area who will take part in a seminar and post-talk networking occasion hosted by Kore-eda. The Tokyo fest additionally has collaborated on movie choices this 12 months by way of partnership preparations with the Taipei, Hong Kong and Shanghai movie festivals — collaborations Ando is bent on boosting.
Probably the most instantly putting change in 2023, although, is solely the pageant’s scale. The occasion is screening 219 movies throughout its nine-day length — 25 p.c greater than final 12 months — and it’ll welcome over 600 worldwide VIPs, together with filmmakers, jury members and business professionals, which is six instances greater than the quantity that attended in 2022.
Ando says the pageant was capable of increase due to tireless fundraising work, which introduced in a further 11 company sponsors in 2023.
“In fact, greater is all the time higher for a movie pageant,” he provides. “I’m fairly glad about what we have now achieved this 12 months, however we wish to proceed to increase subsequent 12 months. I have already got a variety of duties in my file for 2024.”