Tokyo movie festival to showcase creative new Asian films

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Nine emerging young Asian filmmakers will compete in the upcoming TOKYO FILMeX international movie festival, which will also include special screenings of 12 films by prominent directors from around the world.

TOKYO FILMeX 2002 will run Dec. 1 to 8 and will present a collection of contemporary independent films from Asia through the competition section, a series of screenings, and symposiums for discussions with renowned members of the industry.

“The film festival presents a new trend of films. We would also like to promote exchanges among filmmakers and provide an active meeting place for them,” festival director Kanako Hayashi told a news conference at the Foreign Correspondents Club of Japan.

The competition section, the highlight of the festival, will present nine new films by emerging filmmakers from Asia, including entries from Japan, South Korea, China, Thailand and Tajikistan.

The Grand Prize and Special Jury Prize will be selected by an international jury and announced at the festival’s closing ceremony Dec. 8.

“All of the nine films are full of originality and creativity, as well as the potential of the directors,” Hayashi said.

All but one are the directors’ first long films, according to the organizers.

“The feature of this year’s FILMeX is that we will present to you very fresh new films,” program director Shozo Ichiyama said.

All the films in the competition section and all but one in the special screenings were produced this year, with some still in their final stages of production.

The 12 films by prominent directors from around the world include award winners from other international festivals and the latest works of the directors.

Russian director Alexander Sokurov’s “Russian Ark” will open the festival.

The closer will be “Monday Morning,” by French director Otar Iosseliani, who won the Silver Bear for Best Director at this year’s Berlin Film Festival.

Among the screenings will be “Oasis” by South Korean director Lee Chang Dong and “A Snake of June” by Japan’s Shinya Tsukamoto. Both won awards at the Venice Film Festival this year.

Movies by other Japanese directors that will be shown are “The Blessing Bell” by Sabu, “Jellyfish Alert” by Kiyoshi Kurosawa and “Kurosawa Kiyoshi Alert” by Kenjiro Fujii.

“I am worried about the Japanese audience’s reaction, especially from female viewers, to my film because it contains some very erotic scenes,” Tsukamoto said, although his film was well-received at a Venice Film Festival screening earlier this month.

Asked what audience he hopes will attend the screenings, Kurosawa said he would like to see “the very young and very old age groups,” as well as “people who say they have not been to the cinema for many years.”

This year’s FILMeX will for the first time since its launch in 2000 screen two movies using hi-vision technology: Sokurov’s “Russian Ark” and Kurosawa’s “Jellyfish Alert.”

“Advanced video technologies have expanded the possibilities for film directors,” Ichiyama said.

Advanced tickets for the festival go on sale starting Oct. 12 at 1,200 yen each, available through Ticket Pia and Lawson Ticket.

The screenings will take place at Yurakucho Asahi Hall, Hamarikyu Asahi Hall and Ginza Cine la Sept.