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‘Green’ film fest to feature four world premieres, close with ‘Wall-E’

School Days with a Pig
School Days with a Pig

TOKYO (TR) – The 21st Tokyo International Film Festival, which kicks off on October 18th, will feature four world premieres in its main competition and screen a digitally restored Akira Kurosawa classic, organizers announced last week.

The Feng Xiaoning disaster film “Super Typhoon,” Tetsu Maeda’s “School Days with a Pig,” the love story “Claustrophobia, by first-time Hong Kong director Ivy Ho, and “Echo of Silence,” the debut pic by actor Atsuro Watanabe, will premiere and compete with 11 other films for the Tokyo Sakura Grand Prix, the top prize.

As reported previously, John Woo’s $80 million historical epic “Red Cliff” will open the fest, which is touting an environmental theme. “Wall-E,” the Andrew Stanton (“Finding Nemo”) fantasy film produced by Pixar, will close the event on October 26th.

Tom Yoda, who is in his first year as chairman, said that the state of the global environment is a top concern, an issue that the film industry needs to tackle. “I believe this is the mission of the filmmakers,” he said, providing few details. “Japan is expected to exert its leadership on global environmental issues. So TIFF needs to identify itself as a leader.”

Toyota will sponsor the “Toyota Earth Grand Prix,” an award given to the festival film that best displays the earth’s beauty.

Other notable entries include “Kill,” a collection of four stories by three directors under the guidance of animated film legend Mamoru Oshii (“Ghost in the Shell” and “The Sky Crawlers”), and “buy a suit,” the final film by Jun Ichikawa, who passed away in Tokyo on Friday. Both films will bow in the “Japanese Eyes” section.

A digitally restored version of director Akira Kurosawa’s masterpiece “Rashomon” will be screened as a part of a special program.

Hideyuki Takai, president of Japan Association for International Promotion of the Moving Image, said that for TIFF to become a core event it would take a tremendous group effort by government bodies and the festival partners. In comparing TIFF with long-running festivals hosted in Cannes, Berlin, and Venice, the president said that TIFF “is in a growth period.”