Tokyo International Film Festival opens despite pandemic

Saturday, October 31, 2020

By Khaldon Azhari
Tokyo - (PanOrient News) The 33rd edition of the Tokyo International Film Festival started on Saturday, October 31, 2020 at the Tokyo International Forum.

The opening ceremony followed the traditional red-carpet ceremony, which this year was significantly reduced due to the pandemic. Very few international actors and directors marched down the red carpet this year, which also marks the 125th anniversary of the birth of cinema. Malaysian director Edmund Yeo was able to travel to Japan after a period of quarantine.

The film score philharmonic orchestra performed well-known musical excerpts from major films at the opening of the ceremony.

International encouragement from the world of cinema was shown at the event over video conference.

In a video message, Thierry Frémaux, director of the Cannes festival and member of the jury at the Tokyo film festival three years ago, underlined the importance for the film industry of holding the festival, that the cinema is part of life, and that this festival is important for foreign directors to show their works.

Actor Robert De Niro left a very short message of encouragement in Japanese and wished the festival success, while actor and festival ambassador Koji Yakusho said he did not know what the future will hold for the film industry, but welcomed the fact that the festival can be held physically.

Thai director Apitchapong stressed the importance of funding cinema through internet donation platforms, saying they are needed to fund the production of cinematographic works during this period.

Festival chairman Hiroyasu Ando borrowed a quote from director Yamanaka to say he believes in the power of films despite difficult times. Yamanaka’s retrospective of remastered films will be shown during the festival.

This year, in the absence of foreign actors, actresses and directors, the Tokyo International Film Festival will not be holding any competition or awards.
Photos by Pierre Boutier

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