Saturday, November 20, 2010

Tokyo Filmex 2010: 1st Update

by Chris MaGee

It's been a long journey to Tokyo, plus a lapse of a few days of me posting here on the blog, but the wait is now over! Tokyo Filmex 2010 officially kicked off yesterday in Yurakucho here in the Japanese capital. This 11th edition of the festival supported by Office Kitano, Shochiku and Unijapan amongst other sponsors, has assembled films from around the globe for Tokyo film audiences. The fest was kicked off yesterday with the Japanese premiere of Apichatpong Weerasethakul's latest film "Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives".

Prior to the screening of "Uncle Boonmee" a special opening ceremony was held, hosted by Tokyo Filmex festival director Kanako Hayashi during which she proudly introduced this year's festival jury Ulrich Gregor,founder of International Forum of New Cinema, Berlinale, "Uncle Boonmee" director Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Chinese director Ying Ning, veteran screenwriter and script supervisor Akane Shiratori, and Cheuk-To Lee, Artistic Director, Hong Kong International Film Festival. Gregor praised the "passion for film" that makes Filmex haapen each year.

The opening was attended by a who's who of current and classic Japanese film culture. This year's festival guests Kazuhiro Soda, presenting his new documentary "Peace" and Ryusuke Hamaguchi, presenting his sophomore film "The Depths" were on hand as well as such luminaries as actor Hidetoshi Nishijima (Dolls, Vacation), directors Isao Yukisada and Sabu, longtime Takeshi Kitano producer Masayuki Mori, film scholar Tadao Sato, Iranian director Amir Naderi, here in Tokyo working on his upcoming Japanese film "Cut", and a rare public appearance by legendary author aand Japanese film historiaan Donald Richie.

For myself the opening was also a way to catch up with members of the online Japanese film community including such folks as Jason Gray, Marc Walkow and Don Brown, as well as former Nippon Connection programmer Alex Zahlten and Third Window Films founder and president Adam Torel.

Many films to caach in the next eight days, so keep checking back here on the blog throughout Tokyo Filmex 2010, November 20th to 28th!

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