Tokyo 2008, tema: Ecologia
On September 18, the lineup of the 21st Tokyo International Film Festival (TIFF) was announced at a press conference at Roppongi Hills. More than 300 films are to be shown this time. Hideyuki Takai, President, Japan Association for International Promotion of the Moving Image, and Tom Yoda, Chairman, the 21st TIFF, gave welcome speeches.
Ecology is the theme for the 21st TIFF. Another new section is “Director’s Angle” that features all-night screenings and talk shows by three highly praised Japanese directors: Shunji Iwai, Kiyoshi Kurosawa and Yojiro Takita.
There were questions from journalists about the attempt to appeal for environmental issues from a film festival. Chaiman Yoda emphasized “Filmmakers create movies to show. Their works are made on Earth. We wish to help the people of the world to understand global concerns.” This year is a new start for TIFF as well and the next year’s goal will be announced at the closing ceremony.
As special guests, Atsuro Watabe, a director and actor, Saki Takaoka, an actress, and Tetsu Maeda, who directed “School Days with a Pig”, appeared on the stage. Watabe made his directorial debut with “Echo of Silence” starring Takaoka. The two films will be world premiered at the competition. An international jury headed by American actor Jon Voight will hand out awards on the final day. The three guests told some behind-the-scenes anecdotes and expressed their expectations to compete at the 21st TIFF. Watabe was very grateful because he never imagined his film would be nominated for the competition. Takaoka was also delighted to be part of such an amazing film festival. When Maeda apologized for coming without Satoshi Tsumabuki, the leading actor, the audience burst into laughter. He dreamed to be nominated for the competition, because late Shinji Somai, his mentor, won Grand Prix for “Taifû Kurabu” at the first TIFF in 1985.
When Watabe was asked that there seemed much improvisation in his film, he answered there was a script in fact but he shot it without tests and actors did very well to keep up with his demanding tasks. Takaoka confessed it was difficult to delve into her emotions for each scene. She recalled Watabe shoveling the snow in the cold during the shooting in Hokkaido and it encouraged the cast and crew to work harder for the first-time director.
For the heated debate scene in “School Days with a Pig”, Maeda contrived ways to unleash the vivid feelings and expressions of children. He considers only sincere words from the heart to convey the true feelings, so he invited child actors to the studio every weekend for four months before starting filming to form a real classroom atmosphere. The children actually took care of the pigs used in the film to bring out a lot of feelings in the debate scene. Maeda believes he was able to keep their natural expressions in the film, and he is quite content with the finished version.
An unprecedented number of the press gathered at the conference to demonstrate their interest in TIFF, and the guests were caught in a flood of flashes until they exited from the stage.
Celebrates Osamu Tezuka’s 80th Birth Anniversary
The 21st Tokyo International Film Festival (TIFF) will be held from October 18 to 26. “animecs TIFF” section will present a retrospective of works by late Osamu Tezuka, the “Father of Japanese Manga and Anime”, to commemorate his 80th birth anniversary. TIFF affords a rare opportunity to view an unprecedented collection of his masterpieces on the silver screen.
Tezuka produced short and feature animations while pursuing his career as a manga artist. He successfully pioneered the first domestically-produced animated program on Japanese television in 1963. His creations including “Astro Boy”, “Black Jack”, “Princess Knight”, and “Phoenix” have entertained generations of youngsters over the years.
He firmly believed in the sanctity of life, had a genuine love for the Earth, and valued the symbiosis of human beings and nature. His ideals are in great harmony with TIFF’s ecological theme of this year.
Marine Express (1979) features practically all of his popular characters such as Astro Boy, Black Jack, and Princess Sapphire. It also warns about the danger of environmental destruction. This program will be shown with English subtitles.
Astoro Boy, Princess Knight, and New Jungle Emperor, Go Ahead Leo! will come back to the big screen. The select episodes were directed by Tezuka himself.
Digitally remastered versions of The Fantastic Adventure of Unico (1981) and Unico in the Island of Magic (1983) will be screened with English subtitles. The baby unicorn has the power to grant wishes and happiness to anyone who befriends him.
Tezuka considered “Phoenix” as his life’s work. The original manga focuses on man’s continuous quest for immortality, encompassing the span of ancient age to the far future.
Phoenix –Dawn (1978) is a blending of live action and animation based on the first chapter of the series. He co-produced this film with Kon Ichikawa, a prominent director who died in February.
Phoenix 2772 (Space Firebird) (1980) is set in the distant future where the Earth is dying from a lack of energy resources. The theme of the film is “coexistence of man and nature.”
The crew of the two “Phoenix” adaptations will give some background on the films they made after the screenings.
Tezuka explored new artistic ideas in Tales of the Street Corner (1962), his directorial debut. A new print will be screened specially for TIFF together with Jumping (1984), Broken Down Film (1985), and Legend of the Forest: Part 1 (1987). His original experimental shorts highlight his foresight and determination to take on new challenges.
24 Settembre 2008