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Tokyo fest to feature five world premieres, offer support to Tohoku

TOKYO (TR) – The 24th Tokyo International Film Festival will be highlighted by five world premieres in competition and offer encouragement to the victims of the Great East Japan Earthquake, organizers announced on Wednesday.

TIFF chairman Tatsumi “Tom” Yoda said at a press conference at the Roppongi Hills complex in Tokyo’s Minato Ward that this year’s installment of the fest, which runs between October 22 and 30, will utilize the slogan “Believe! The power of films” in an effort to support the victims of the earthquake and subsequent tsunami in Japan’s Tohoku region.

“We want to use the power of film to encourage the people in devastated area of Tohoku,” said Yoda.

To directly support the disaster-hit area, the TIFF Arigato Project will collect donations and send positive messages to the victims. A special screening will be held on October 25 in Sendai, whose coastal area suffered extensive damage due to the tsunami.

Kicking off the event in the “Special Screenings” section will be the swashbuckler “The Three Musketeers,” an adaptation of the Alexandre Dumas novel by helmer Paul W.S. Anderson and “1911,” a historical war drama starring Jackie Chan. TIFF’s week-long run will feature over 200 films at theaters in the Roppongi entertainment district and other areas. The closer will be Bennett Miller’s “Moneyball,” a baseball pic in which Brad Pitt portrays Oakland A’s general manager Billy Beane.

A total of 975 titles from 76 countries and regions were submitted to TIFF this year. Five world premieres will be included among the 15 entries in the main competition, including helmer Shuichi Okita’s drama “The Woodsman and the Rain,” and Du Jiayi’s “Kora,” a Chinese coming-of-age drama about a boy traveling to Tibet.

Heading the jury will be producer Edward Pressman. Chairman Yoda said that TIFF had only filled four of the five jury positions at this time, citing the ongoing nuclear crisis as a factor in the yet-to-be-named juror. “The impact of the nuclear problem is very big,” he said. “For the festival, it is required that members stay in Tokyo for 10 days, and that is quite a commitment under these conditions.”

The “Japanese Eyes” section will feature eight local pics, including “Monster Killer,” the story of an investigator and a mysterious woman by Takanori Tsujimoto, a helmer known for spilling copious amounts of blood in his features.

The “Natural TIFF” section includes the timely “Land of Oblivion,” Michale Boganim’s documentary shot in the Chernobyl area.

As previously reported, TIFF will pay tribute to legendary actress Kyoko Kagawa, who made her name alongside such helmers as Akira Kurosawa, Kenji Mizoguchi, and Yasujiro Ozu.