Shozo Ichiyama’s first two years as programming director of the Tokyo Worldwide Movie Pageant have been overshadowed by journey restrictions sparked by a cussed and lethal pandemic, however now he’s trying to this version of the pageant to totally replicate the lineup revamp he has been working towards.
A well-connected movie pageant veteran and worldwide producer, Ichiyama’s goals are for a coherent and linked movie slate, together with making Tokyo a spot the place the business from Asia and past come to fulfill.
The latter intention takes a step towards being realized by the greater than 600 abroad company anticipated on the 2023 version of the pageant (in comparison with round 100 in 2022), and “extra requests coming in daily,” with attendee numbers boosted by the return of an in-person TIFFCOM content material market after a three-year pandemic-inflicted hiatus.
In the meantime, with movie manufacturing globally now firing once more on all cylinders, there was a rise in each the standard and amount of the submissions to the fest this 12 months, says Ichiyama: “I feel the competitors lineup could be very a lot stronger than final 12 months. There are extra premieres this 12 months too. It wasn’t supposed; I simply chosen good movies and it occurred that they hadn’t been proven at different festivals but.”
Ichiyama hails the return of Chinese language movies (three) to competitors after censorship points drastically lowered the quantity obtainable for festivals all over the place final 12 months. Personnel modifications on the censorship bureau in China at first of this 12 months and post-pandemic restoration have helped drastically enhance the state of affairs, says Ichiyama. “There are additionally loads of high quality movies from younger Chinese language filmmakers. We needed to flip down some excellent movies from China this time.”
One of many new initiatives is the pageant inviting college students from round Asia to attend masterclasses in Tokyo with main business figures comparable to filmmaker Hirokazu Kore-eda, who can even oversee the TIFF Lounge collection of speak reveals for the fourth 12 months. Ichiyama sees such occasions, together with filmmaking workshops for kids (in its sixth 12 months), as central pillars of the fest’s mission to contribute to the way forward for Asian cinema.
Nonetheless, the pageant’s scope will not be restricted to Asia, and this 12 months boasts a double dose of Wim Wenders, together with his Tokyo-set Excellent Days because the opening movie and the German auteur heading the jury for the principle competitors.
“When he was taking pictures Excellent Days in Japan final 12 months, pageant chairman [Yasuhiro] Ando requested him to be on the jury,” says Ichiyama. “Then throughout Berlin Movie Pageant Ando-san and I visited his workplace and he confirmed he would function head of the jury. Excellent Days was nonetheless in post-production … however we noticed it in Cannes [where Koji Yakusho won best actor for his turn as a toilet cleaner] and all of us cherished it, so we’re very pleased to have it because the opening movie.”
An enormous fan of Yasujiro Ozu, the celebration of 120 years because the start of the legendary director was most likely another excuse Wenders agreed to attend, says Ichiyama, who remembers that Wenders additionally appeared on the Ninetieth-anniversary occasions in Tokyo 30 years in the past.
One other change for this version is the internationalization of the Japanese animation part, itself solely launched a decade in the past. “We realized there are such a lot of good animation movies from overseas,” says Ichiyama. “And we’ve invited most of the filmmakers, who can have symposiums with Japanese animators. It’s additionally an opportunity for Japanese audiences to expertise animation from Europe, China and elsewhere.”
Ichiyama has excessive hopes that with company from abroad up fivefold on final 12 months, the business now freed from the final traces of the pandemic, and a rejigged and strengthened movie line-up, this 12 months’s version will lastly be near the sort of occasion he and Ando are aiming for.
Says Ichiyama: “Tokyo movie pageant must be a gathering place each for professionals and younger people who find themselves aiming to be professionals… If youthful individuals have an excellent expertise on the pageant after which go on to be filmmakers, we hope they may choose TIFF to display their movies,” Ichiyama mentioned.