Film | Wide Angle

Tokyo Filmex sharpens its focus

by Mark Schilling

Special To The Japan Times

Is Tokyo Filmex losing its raison d’etre? Opening less than a month after the Tokyo International Film Festival ends, Tokyo Filmex was once the hard-core indie antithesis of the larger, more mainstream TIFF, but the latter is now more welcoming to the kind of young, up-and-coming Japanese and Asian directors who might have once naturally gravitated to the former.

As indicated by the line-up of its 17th edition, which will unspool Nov. 19-27, Tokyo Filmex has reacted to this challenge by sharpening its focus and cultivating an international community of fans, filmmakers and supporters. The 10-film Competition and five-film Special Screenings sections are sprinkled with works by Filmex regulars, including the opening film “The Net,” by maverick Korean director Kim Ki-duk, and the Special Screenings presentation “Monte,” the latest film by veteran Iranian director Amir Naderi.

A former mentor in Filmex’s Talent Campus Tokyo workshop for young filmmakers and producers, Naderi received a “Glory to the Filmmaker” career achievement award at this year’s Venice Film Festival — an award inspired by director/comedian Takeshi “Beat” Kitano, a long-time Filmex backer.

But Filmex is also a launching pad for new talent, with six of the 10 directors in the Competition making their feature debuts. And from the beginning it has been a showcase for classics, including this year’s screening of genre master Tai Kato’s last film, the 1981 documentary “The Ondekoza.”

Advance tickets are already on sale, with nearly all screenings subtitled. What are you waiting for?

www.filmex.net/2016en