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Tokyo film fest to feature 5 world premieres in competition

Daihachi Yoshida's "Pale Moon"
Daihachi Yoshida’s “Pale Moon”

TOKYO (TR) – The 27th Tokyo International Film Festival will be highlighted next month by five world premieres in competition as the event attempts to raise its profile, organizers announced on Tuesday.

TIFF will boost its name recognition while seeking to garner a larger audience for films, fest chairman Yasushi Shiina said at a press conference at the Toranomon Hills complex.

“The major objectives of the festival are to motivate people in the movie industry while strengthening the brand-recognition of TIFF among general consumers by introducing worthwhile films to watch,” said Shiina.

Extending between between October 23 and 31, TIFF will utilize theaters in the Roppongi Hills complex and other areas around the city.

Among the 15 entries competing for the “Tokyo Grand Prix” prize and $50,000 are five world premieres, including “Heaven Knows What,” Joshua and Benny Safdie’s drama about junkies struggling to survive in New York, the feature-film debut by Malaysian director Edmund Yeo, “River of Exploding Durians,” and “Pale Moon,” the story of a housewife becoming involved in embezzlement, which is based on a book by Naoki Prize-winning author Mitsuyo Kakuta.

“When I read the novel, I became interested in the story angle, that of a woman who gives herself up for a man and money, both of which are current issues in Japanese society,” said director Daihachi Yoshida.

Heading the jury is writer and director James Gunn (“Guardians of the Galaxy”). In a prepared statement, he said that he was excited about discovering new filmmakers. “Festivals like this are important in recognizing the essence of cinema, when so much of the industry is focused on box office profits,” said Gunn.

Kicking off TIFF in “Special Screenings” will be Disney’s “Big Hero 6,” the studio’s follow-up to the smash hit “Frozen.” Closing the fest will be “Parasyte,” director Takashi Yamazaki’s live-action adaptation of the sci-fi manga by Hitoshi Iwaaki.

The “Japanese Cinema Splash” section contains eight independent films, including “Starting Over,” director Takashi Nishihara’s search for the meaning of love, and Katsumi Sakaguchi’s “Walking with My Mother,” a story of coping with the loss of loved ones.

Charlie Chaplin's 'City Lights'
Charlie Chaplin’s ‘City Lights’

The “Asian Future” section will screen productions by directors with two or fewer films to their credit. Internationally acclaimed films seeking Japanese distribution will be showcased in the “World Focus” section.

As reported previously, animation is a focus of the festival. “The World of Hideaki Anno” comprises 50 works by animator Hideaki Anno, the creator of the “Evangelion” series at Toho Cinemas Nihonbashi in Chuo Ward.

TIFF will also pay tribute to cinema history.

Directors Tim Burton (“The Nightmare Before Christmas” and “Alive in Wonderland”) and Takeshi Kitano (“Fireworks” and “Outrage”) will receive the inaugural “Samurai Award,” which recognizes filmmakers who have consistently created groundbreaking films.

As well, Charlie Chaplin’s “City Lights” will screen at the Kabuki-za theater in the Ginza district.